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Full text of "Undine; or, The water-spirit;"

I 



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UNDINE, 



FROM THE GERMAN OF THE 

BARON DE LA MOTTE FOUaT]£, 

BY 

REV. THOMAS TRACY 



UNDINE, 

OB, 

ALSO, 

S I N T R A M 

airs »is eoisB^Kl oils. 

FROM THE GERMAN OP 

FRIEDRICH DE LA MOTTE FOUQUfi. 



WILLIS P. HAZARD, 190 CHESTNUT ST., 
PHILADELPHIA. 
1856. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE. 



The peculiar genius of FouacE is so fully developed in the two 
stories of Undine and Sintram, and that genius is bc strictly in- 
dividual, the reflection of the personal sympathy and culture of the 
man, that the author's life might be almost said to be written in 
those tales. Critics complain of the want of comprehensiveness 
in Fouque's writings. He had an eye, they say, simply for one 
thing, a pure Christian Chivalry, and of this he was a dreamer. 
Surely, without detracting from the laws of Art, there is room for 
one such dreamer in the world, in this low thinking age. The 
young, the fair, the good, will be ever content to dream with him. 
Fouque practised the chivalry which he taught. He was twice in 
arms in defence of his country in early youth, and again, " with 
the Lyre and the Sword," in the war against Napoleon. He was 
wounded at Culm, and present at Leipzig. His grandfather was 
the intimate of the great Frederic, attained the rank of General, 
and fought in the Seven Years' War. The grandson, as may be 
seen in the Preface to Sintram, delighted to go ftirther back into 
antiquity for the honour of the family name. 

Friedrich Baron de la Motte Fouque was born on the 12th Feb- 
ruary, 1777, and died 23d October, 1842. Before bis death he 
published a corrected edition of his Select Works, in 12 volumes. 
They include his great dramatic poem, The Hero of the North, a 
version of the old Nibelungen-Lied ; The Magic Ring and Sin- 
tram, kindred tales of Chivalry ; " the faultless completeness of 
Undine Aslauga's Knight, and various dramatic and poetical 
productions. 



DEDICATION. 



Vision of beauty, dear Undine, 

Since led by storied light, 

I found you, mystic sprite, 
How soothing to my heart your voice has Mda i 

You press beside me, angel miid, 

Soft breathing all your woes, 

And winning brief repose, — 
A wayward, tender, timid child. 

Still my guitar has caught the tone, 

And from its gate of gold 

Your whispered sorrows rolled. 
Till thro' the world their sound is flown. 

And many hearts your sweetness love, 

Though strange your freaks and state, 

And while I sing your fate, 
The wild and wond'rous tale approve. 

Now would they warmly, one and all, 

Your fortunes trace anew : 

Then, sweet, your way pursue, 
And, fearless, enter bower and hall. 

Greet noble knights with homage due; 
But greet, all trusting there, 
The lovely German fair ; 
Welcome," they cry, " the maiden true !* 

And if toward me one dart a glance, 

Say, "i/e's a loyal knight. 

Who serves you, ladies bright, — 
Guitar and sword, — at tourney, feast, and dance." 

FOUQU^ 



CONTENTS. 



UNDINE. 

Paoi, 

Biographical Notices vii 

Preface xi 

Dedication xv 

Chap. I. How a Knight came to a Fisherman's Cottage • 2 

II. In what manner Undine came to thb Fisherman . . 8 

III. How they found Undine again .... 15 

IV. Of what had happened to the Knight in the forest 20 
V. How the Knight lived on the point of ulud, now en- 
circled BY the lake 27 

VI. A Wedding .32 

VII. What further happened on the evening of the wedding 39 

VIII. The day after the wedd/ng 43 

IX. How THE Knight took his young wife with him . 49 

X. How they lived in the city . . ... 54 

XI. Festival of Bertalda's name-day . . . • 58 

XII. How THEY departed FROM THE CITY . • 65 

XIII. How THEY LIVED AT CaSTLE RiNGSTETTEN . • • 70 

XIV. How Bertalda returned with the Knight ... 78 
XV. Passage down the Danube to Vienna . . 85 

XVI. What further happened to Huldbrand . 92 

XVII. The Knight's dream 97 



XVIII. How the Knight Huldbrand solemnized his marriage . 100 
XIX. How THE Knight Huldbrand was buriei? . . • 105 



PREFACE. 



The following translation of Undine, one of the minor romances of Fre- 
deric, Baron de la Motte Fouque, is from the fourth impression of the 
original, that of Berlin, 1826. It was made in the winter of 1835, and has 
since received such revision and improvement, as the kindness of literary 
friends, in connection with my own wish to do as little injustice to the genius 
of the author as I could, has enabled me to give it. 

This is no place for discussing the characteristics of Fouque, but he has 
one excellence of composition so rich and rare, that I may be permitted to 
allude to it here : — I mean his harmonious union of fiction and fact, his ex- 
quisite blending of the natural and supernatural. So perfect do we find this 
union to be, such a melting indeed of both into one, that we hardly know in 
which of the two we feel ourselves most at home. We have the true feeling 
of real hfe, embellished by the magic of imagination, — just as the frost-work, 
which at times we see almost spiritualizing our groves and shrubberies in 
winter, constitutes so much of their peculieir charm ; — and this double excel- 
lence it was, that led me to select and translate a few specimens of this 
writer's Natural and Supernatural. 

Unbine is a beautifully imaginative tale, a master-piece in this depart- 
ment o*' German literature. With a simplicity of the antique cast it 
combines the most picturesque wildness, unbroken interest, excellent 
principles, a peculiar vein of pleasantry, and even what we seldom look 
for in works of this kind, touches of genuine pathos. We are esteemed, 
and I presume justly, a less imaginative race than the people of Ger- 
many. Our traditions, local superstitions, early influences, education, 
aabits of thought, and other circumstances of life, are of a more com- 
mon-place order than theirs. We are not, it may be, less fond of legen- 
dary lore, since love of the marvellous seems to be a universal impulse 
in our nature ; but we seek its enjoyment with the mere calm approval of 
fancy, while they welcome it with much of the warmth of good faith. 
Still, if " THE World of Reality, not the Fairyland of Romance," be 



Kii 



PREFACE. 



our maxim, the spirit of truth and tenderness is nowhere wholly extinct : 
long as it may lie slumbering in the soul, it is too inseparable a part of our 
being ever to die. Is not imagination a germ of immortality? 

I am gratified to perceive that many writers allude to this fiction in terms 
of warm commendation. Menzel, in his development of German Litera- 
ture, of which we have lately been favored with an able translation, speaks 
of this and the " Vial-Genie," or " Mandrake," another miniature romance 
by the same author, in these words : " Fouque's ' Undine ' will always con- 
tinue one of the most delightful creations of German poetry. Also the little 
story of the " Mandrake " belongs to the best elaborations of the old national 
sagas," or tales of the supernatural, derived from the voice of traditioned 
superstition. But the most accurate appreciation that I have seen of Undine, 
I find among those golden fragments of the richest of minds, the Speci- 
mens of the Table Talk of S. T. Coleridge. This is the passage to which 
I refer : <* Undine is a most exquisite work. It shows the general want of 
any sense for the fine and the subtle in the public taste, that this romance 
made no deep iiiipression. Undine's character, before she receives a soul, is 
marvellously beautiful." 

The author, to whom we are so much indebted for these Specimens and 
other Literary Remains, and to whom we had hoped, alas ! to be more and 
more indebted, as well for these labours of love as for those of his own clas- 
sical genius, observes in a note : *' Mr. Coleridge's admiration of this 
little romance was unbounded. He said there was something in Undine 
even beyond Scott, — that Scott's best characters and conceptions were 
compesed ; by which I understood him to mean, that Baillie Nicol Jarvie, 
for example, was made up of old particulars, and received its individ- 
uality from the author's power of fusion, being in the result an admirable 
product, as Corinthian brass was said to be the conflux of the spoils of a 
city. But Undine, he said, was one and single in projection, and had 
presented to his imagination, what Scott had never done, an absolutely 
new idea." 

This character being formed according to the principles of the Rosicru- 
cian philosophy, it has been suggested to me, that to enable the reader to 
understand and appreciate her story, I ought to prefix a -sketch of that sys- 
tem to my translation, and I once thought of profiting by the suggestion. 
On reflection, however, I cannot but view the work as complete in itself. 
Whatever seems requisite, even for readers least conversant with such lore, 
Fouqus has contrived to incorporate, and I think very happily too, with the 
texture of his fable. See the developments of the eighth chapter. Every- 
body enjoys the delightful marvels of the Arabian Nights, marvels tliat have 
almost become numbered among the common-places of our experience ; even 
children understand the machinery of genii, magicians, talismans, rings, 
lamps, and enchanted horses. 



PREFACE. 



ziii 



The reader will allow mc to observe, in closing these brief notices, that, 
supported as well by my own feeling as by the judgment of Menzel, Cole- 
ridge, and, I may add, by the general voice of criticism, I view Undine not 
only as a work of art, but as something far superior, an exquisite creation of 
genius. If I have failed to do justice to her peculiar traits, in thus intro- 
ducing her to him in the costume of our \inguage, it is not owing to want 
of admiration, or of studiously endeavoring to be faithful to my trust ; and, 
aware of the difficulty of presenting her the " vision of beauty" that 
Fouque " found" her, he will forgive the fond impulse of my ambition. 
What welcome she may receive among us, it remains for the noble knights 
and lovely ladies of our country to show. She does not come as a 
stranger, — she has already been more than once greeted with favour ; still, 
wide as may be her fame in the world of letters, she seems, as yet, to be 
more talked of in the world of common readers, than, if I may so speak, 
Known in person. To all lovers of the imaginative, therefore, — to every 
♦* simple, affectionate, and wonder-loving heart," — her fortunes are again 
committed. 



This translation of Undine was first published in 1839, as the third 
volume of the New York " Library of Romance," of which " Phantas- 
mion" formed the first and second. It was republished also, the same year, 
in the London " Standard Library." Encouraged by its favourable recep- 
tion, and feeling that every thing of value, in a picture so closely allied to 
poetry as this, depends on skilfully disposing the colours of thought, the 
lights and shades of expression, I have since that edition again and again 
compared it with the German, and spared no pains to render it less un- 
worthy of the welcome with which it has been honoured. 

What I proposed to myself, as a general if not an invariable rule in 
translating and revising, was this, to adhere to the verbal import of the ori- 
ginal, whenever a freer rendering did not give promise of more clearness, 
beauty, or force of expression, in English. Freedom and fidelity, indeed, 
have been my continual aim ; but, notwithstanding the imperfections which 
I have from time to time detected and removed, when I perceive how 
faint a shadow my version is of the vivid original, I am able to make no 
higher boast than of having tried to copy the author's fineness and subtlety 
of conception, as well as the ease and simplicity of his execution. Still, 
however inadequate the translation may be, and however perfect a copy 
sojne more expert translator may produce, few or none will ever submit to a 
like process of revision and irflpToveincnt to make it such ; and though 
" a I'ibour of love," as one of my reviewers has been pieaaed to call my 



xiv 



PREFACE. 



work, — a striving after accuracy of thought and expression, as if it were 
a case of conscience, — it is a labour that I would fain hope I shall seldona 
find it necessary to repeat. 



The preceding remarks formed the " Advertisement" to the " Miniature 
Romances from the German," published in Boston, 1841. Since that time, 
the translation of Undine has passed through more editions in London, than 
it is necessary or I am able to mention. In all of them, omissions have 
been made, and other unauthorized liberties have been taken ; but that of 
Mr. James Bums, in his recent volumes of Fouque, I consider by far the 
best I have seen. I themk the editor for the labor he has bestowed upon 
my version. I should have been more pleased, indeed, if he had not re- 
moved the author's headings from the chapters, if he had not chosen to 
unite two chapters in one, and if he had not injured several passages by the 
changes he has made : still he has revised my work with so much care and 
good taste, that, in preparing it for Messrs. Wiley & Putnam's publication, 
I have derived many verbal improvements from his copy. While I am glad 
to welcome this English fellow-worker to the same delightful field, I cannot 
but cherish the assurance, that his translations of German romance, both 
original and selected, will be as warmly welcomed by all lovers of the 
Natural and Supernatural as by mysel£ 

T. Tract. 

February 22, 1845. 



UNDINE. 



CHAPTER 1. 

How a Knight came to a Fisherman's Cottage. 

Once on a beautiful evening, it may now be mar y hundred 
years ago, there was a worthy old fisherman who sat before hia 
door mending his nets. 

Now the corner of the world where he dwelt, was exceedingly 
picturesque. The green turf on which he had built his cottage, 
ran far out into a great lake ; and this slip of verdure appeared 
to stretch into it as much through love of its clear waters, blue 
and bright, as the lake, moved by a like impulse, sti'ove to fold 
the meadow, with its waving grass and flowers, and the cooling 
shade of the trees, in its fond embrace. Such were the fresh- 
ness and beauty of both, that they seemed to be drawn toward 
each other, and the one to be visiting the other as a guest. 

With respect to human beings, indeed, in this pleasant spot, 
excepting the fisherman and his family, there were few or rather 
none to be met with. For in the back-ground of the scene, to- 
ward the west and north-west, lay a forest of extraordinary 
wildness, which, owing to its gloom and its being almost impass- 
able, as well as to fear of the strange creatures and visionary 
forms to be encountered there, most people avoided entering, 
unless in cases of extreme necessity. The pious old fisher- 
man, however, many times passed through it without harm, 
when he carried the fine fish, which he caught by his beautiful 
fftrip of land, to a great city lying only a short distance beyond 
the extensive forest. 

2 



9 



UNDINE. 



[chap, l 



Now the reason he was able to go through this wood with so 
much ease, may have been chiefly this, because he entertained 
scarcely any thoughts but such as were of a religious nature ; 
and besides, every time he crossed the evil-reported shades, he 
used to sing some holy song with a clear voice and from a sin- 
cere heart. 

Well, while he sat by his nets this evening, neither fearing 
nor devising evil, a sudden terror seized him, as he heard a 
rushing in the darkness of the wood, that resembled the tram- 
pling of a mounted steed, and the noise continued every instant 
drawing nearer and nearer to his little territory. 

What he had dreamed in his reveries, when abroad in many 
a stormy night, respecting the mysteries of the forest, now 
flashed through his mind in a moment ; especially the figure of 
a man of gigantic stature and snow-white appearance, who 
kept nodding his head in a portentous manner. Yet, when he 
raised his eyes toward the wood, the form came before him in 
perfect distinctness, as he saw the nodding man burst forth 
from the mazy web-work of leaves and branches. But he im- 
mediately felt emboldened, when he reflected that nothing to 
give him alarm had ever befallen him even in the forest ; and 
moreover, that on this open neck of land the evil spirit, it was 
likely, would be still less daring in the exercise of its power. 
At the same time, he prayed aloud with the most earnest sin- 
cerity of devotion, repeating a passage of the Bible. This 
inspired him with fresh courage ; and soon perceiving the illu- 
sion ^ the strange mistake into which his imagination had betrayed 
him, he could with difliculty refrain from laughing. The white, 
nodding figure he had seen, became transformed in the twink- 
ling of an eye, to what in reality it was, a small brook, long 
and familiarly known to him, which ran foaming from the 
forest, and discharged itself into the lake. 

But what had caused the startling sound, was a knight, array 
ed in sumptuous apparel, who beneath the shadows of the tree? 
came riding toward the cottage. His doublet was of dark violet, 
embroidered with gold, and his scarlet cloak hung graceful iy 



ciur. I.] 



UNDINE. 



3 



over it ; on his cap of burnished gold waved red and violet 
plumes, and in his golden shoulder-belt flashed a sword, 
richly ornamented and extremely beautiful. The white barb 
that bore the knight, was more slenderly built than war-horses 
usually are ; and he touched the turf with a step so light and 
ejastic, that the green and flower-woven carpet seemed hardly 
to receive the slightest break from his tread. The old fisher- 
man, notwithstanding, did not feel perfectly secure in his mind, 
although he was forced to believe, that no evil could be feared 
from an appearance so prepossessing; and therefore, as good 
manners dictated, he took off his hat on the knight's coming 
near, and quietly remained by the side of his nets. 

"When the stranger stopped, and asked whether he with his 
horse could have shelter and entertainment there for the night, 
*the fisherman returned answer : " As to your horse, fair Sir, I 
have no better stable for him than this shady meadow, and no 
better provender than the grass that is growing here. But with 
••espect to yourself, you shall be welcome to our humble cot- 
tage, and to the best supper and lodging we are able to give 
you." 

The knight was well contented with this reception ; and 
alighting from his horse, which his host assisted him to relieve 
firom saddle and bridle, he let him hasten away to the fresh 
pasture, and thus spoke : " Even had I found you less hospita- 
ble and kindly disposed, my worthy old friend, you would still, 
I suspect, hardly have got rid of me to-day ; for here, I per- 
ceive, a broad lake lies before us, and as to riding back into 
that wood of wonders, with the shades of evening deepening 
around me, may Heaven in its grace preserve me from the 
thought !" 

" Pray, not a word of the wood, or of returning into it !" said 
the fisherman, and took his guest into the cottage. 

There, beside the hearth, from which a frugal fire was dif- 
fusing its light through the clean dusky room, sat the fisher- 
man's aged wife in a great chair. At the entrance of their 
noble guest, she rose and gave him a courteous welcome, but 



4 



UNDINE. 



[CUAP. I 



fe-at down again m her seat of honour, not making the slightest 
offer of it to the stranger. Upon this the fisherman said with a 
smile : 

You must not be offended with her, young gentleman, he- 
cause she has not given up to you the best chair in the house : 
it is a custom among poor people to look upon this as the pri- 
vilege of the aged." 

"Why, husband!" cried the old lady with a quiet smile, 
" where can your wits be wandering ? Our guest, to say the 
least of him, must belong to a Christian country, and how is it 
possible then, that so well-bred a young man, as he appears to 
be, could dream of driving old people from their chairs ? Take 
a seat, my young master," continued she, turning to the knight : 
" there is still quite a snug little chair across the room there, 
only be careful not to shove it about too roug'hly, for one of its 
legs, I fear, is none of the firmest." 

The knight brought up the seat as carefully as she could de- 
sire, and good-humouredly sat down upon it ; while it seemed 
to him for a moment, that he must be somehow related to this 
little household, and have just returned home from abroad. 

These three worthy people now began to converse in the 
most friendly and familiar manner. In relation to the forest, 
indeed, concerning which the knight occasionally made some 
inquiries, the old man chose to know but little ; at any rate he 
was of opinion, that slightly touching upon it, at this hour of 
twilight, was most suitable and safe ; but of the cares and com- 
forts of their home and their business abroad^ the aged couple 
spoke more freely, and listened also with eager curiosity, as the 
knight recounted to them his travels, and how he had a castle 
near one of the sources of the Danube, and that his name was 
Sir Huldbrand of Ringstetten, 

Already had the stranger, while they were in the midst of 
their talk, been aware at times of a splash against the little low 
window, as if some one were dashing water against it. The 
old man, every time he heard the noise, knit his brows with 
vexation ; but at last, when the whole SAveep of a shower came 



CHAP. I.] 



UNDINE. 



5 



pouring like a torrent against the panes, and bubbling through 
the decayed frame into the room, he started up indignant, rush- 
ed to the window, and cried with a threatening voice : 

" Undine ! will you never leave off these fooleries ? not 
even to-day, when we have a stranger-knight with us in the 
cottage ?" 

All without now became still, only a low titter was just per- 
ceptible, and the fisherman said, as he came back to his seat : 
" You will have the goodness, my honored guest, to pardon 
this freak, and it may be a multitude more, but she has no 
thought of evil or any thing improper. This mischievous Un- 
dine, to confess the truth, is our adopted daughter, and she 
stoutly refuses to give over this frolicksome childishness of hers, 
although she has already entered her eighteenth year. But in 
spite of this, as 1 said before, she is at heart one of the very 
best children in the world." 

" You may say so," broke in the old lady, shaking her head, 
— " you can give a better account of her than I can. When 
you return home from fishing, or from selling your fish in the 
city, you may think her frolics very delightful. But to have 
her figuring about you the whole day long, and never, from 
morning to night, to hear her speak one word of sense ; and 
then, as she grows older, instead of having any help from her 
in the family, tc find her a continual cause of anxiety, lest her 
wild humours should completely ruin us, — that is quite a dif- 
ferent affair, and enough at last to weary out the patience even 
of a saint." 

" Well, well," replied the master of the house, with a smile, 
" you have your trials with Undine, and I have mine with the 
lake. The lake often beats down my dams, and breaks the 
meshes of my nets, but for all that I have a strong affection for 
it ; and so have you, in spite of your mighty crosses and vexa» 
tions, for our nice pretty little child. Is it not true ?" 

" One cannot be very angry with her," answered the old 
lady, as she gave her husband an approving smile. 

That instant the door flew open, and a girl of slender form, 



6 



UNDINE. 



[chap. I. 



almost a very miniature of woman, her hair flaxen and her 
complexion fair, in one word, a blonde-like miracle of beauty, 
slipped laughing in, and said : " You have only been making 
a mock of me, father ; for where now is the guest you men- 
tioned ?" 

The same moment, however, she perceived the knight also, 
and continued standing before the comely young man in fixed 
astonishment. Huldbrand was charmed with her graceful 
figure, and viewed her lovely features with the more intense 
interest, as he imagined it was only her surprise that permitted 
him to have the opportunity, and that she would soon turn away 
fi:om his gaze with increased bashfulness. But the event was 
the very reverse of what he expected. For after now regard- 
ing him quite a long while, she felt more confidence, moved 
nearer, knelt down before him, and, while she played with a 
gold medal, which he wore attached to a rich chain on his 
breast, exclaimed : 

" Why, you beautiful, you friendly guest ! how have you 
reached our poor cottage at last ? Have you been obliged, for 
years and years, to wander about the world, before you could 
catch one glimpe of our nook ? Do you come out of that wild 
forest, my lovely friend ?" 

The old woman was so prompt in her reproof, as to allow 
him no time to answer. She commanded the maiden to rise, 
show better manners, and go to her work. But Undine, with- 
out making any reply, drew a little footstool near Huldbrand's 
chair, sat down upon it with her netting, and said in a gentle 
tone : " I will work here." 

The old man did as parents are apt to do with children, to 
whom they have been over-indulgent. He affected to observe 
nothing of Undine's strange behaviour, and was beginning to talk 
about something else. But this was what the little girl would 
not suffer him to do. She broke in upon him : " I have asked 
our kind guest, from whence he has come among us, and he 
has not yet answered me." 



CHAP. I ] 



UNDINE. 



7 



" I come out of the forest, you lovely little vision," Huld- 
brand returned, and she spoke again: 

" You must also tell me how you came to enter that forest, 
so feared and shunned, and the marvellous adventures you mel~ 
with there; for there is no escaping, I guess, without some- 
thing of this kind." 

Huldbrand felt a slight shudder, on remembering what he 
had witnessed, and looked involuntarily toward the window ; 
for it seemed to him, that one of the strange shapes, which had 
come upon him in the forest, must be there grinning in through 
the glass ; but he discerned nothing except the deep darkness 
of night, which had now enveloped the whole prospect. Upon 
this, he became more collected, and was just on the point of 
beginning his account, when the old man thus interrupted him : 

" Not so. Sir knight ; this is by no means a fit hour for such 
relations." 

But Undine, in a state of high excitement, sprang up from 
lier little cricket, braced her beautiful arms against her sides, 
and cried, placing herself directly before the fisherman : " He 
shall not tell his story, father ? he shall not ? But it is my 
will : — he shall ! — he shall, stop him who may !" 

Thus speaking, she stamped her neat little foot vehemently 
^n the floor, but all with an air of such comic and good-hu- 
moured simplicity, that Huldbrand now found it quite as hard 
to withdraw his gaze from her wild emotion, as he had before 
from her gentleness and beauty. The old man, on the contrary, 
burst out in unrestrained displeasure. He severely reproved 
Undine for her disobedience and her unbecomino- carriao-e 
toward the stranger, and his good old wife joined him in harp- 
ing on the same string. 

By these rebukes Undine was only excited the more. " If 
you want to quarrel with me," she cried, " and will not let me 
hear what I so much desire, then sleep alone in your smoky 
old hut !" — And swift as an arrow she shot from the door, and 
vanished amid the darkness of the ni^ht. 



8 



UNDINE. 



[chap, u 



CHAPTER IL 

In what manner Undine had come to the Fisherman. 

HuLDBRAND and the fisherman sprang from their seats, and were 
rushing to stop the angry girl ; but before they could reach the 
cottage door, she had disappeared in the cloud-like obscurity 
without, and no sound, not so much even as that of her light 
foot-step, betrayed the course she had taken, Huldbrand threw 
a glance of inquiry toward his host : it almost seemed to him, as 
if , his whole interview with a sweet apparition, which had so 
suddenly plunged again amid the night, were no other than a 
continuation of the wonderful forms, that had just played their 
mad pranks with him in the forest ; but the old man muttered 
between his teeth : 

" This is not the first time she has treated us in this manner. 
Now must our hearts be filled with anxiety, and our eyes find 
no sleep, the livelong night ; for who can assure us, in spite of 
her past escapes, that she will not some time or other come 
to harm, if she thus continue out in the dark and alone until 
daylight ?" 

" Then pray, for God's sake, father, let us follow her," cried 
Huldbrand anxiously. 

" Wherefore should we ?" replied the old man ; " it would be 
a sin, were I to suffer you, all alone, to search after the foolish 
girl amid the lonesomeness of night ; and my old limbs would 
ffiil to carry me to this wild rover, even if I knew to what 
place she has hurried offl" 

" Still we ought at least to call after her, and beg her to re- 
turn," said Huldbrand ; and he began to call in tones of earnest 
entreaty : " Undine ! Undine ! come back, pray come back !" 

The old man shook his head, and said : " All your shoutings 



CHAP. II.] 



UNDINE. 



9 



however loud and long, will be of no avail ; you know not as 
yet, Sir knight, what a self-willed thing the little wilding is." 
But still, even hoping against hope, he could not himself cease 
calling out every minute, amid the gloom of night : " Undine ! 
ah, dear Undine ! I beseech you, pray come back, — only this 
once." 

It turned out, however, exactly as the fisherman had said. 
No Undine could they hear or see ; and as the old man would ^ 
on no account consent that Huldbrand should go in quest of the 
furtive, they were both obliged at last to return into the cot- 
tage. There they found the fire on the hearth almost gone 
out, and the mistress of the house, who took Undine's flight and 
danger far less to heart than her husband, had already gone to 
rest. The old man blew up the coals, put on dry wood, and 
by means of the renewed flame hunted for a jug of wine, which 
he brought and set between himself and his guest. 

" You, Sir knight, as well as I," said he, " are anxious on 
the silly girl's account, and it would be better, I think, to spend 
part of the night in chatting and drinking, than keep turning 
and turning on our rush-mats, and trying in vain to sleep. 
What is your opinion ?" 

Huldbrand was well pleased with the plan ; the fisherman 
pressed him to take the vacant seat of honor, its worthy occu- 
pant having now left it for her couch ; and they relished their 
beverage and enjoyed their chat, as two such good men and 
true ever ought to do. To be sure, whenever the slightest 
thing moved before the windows, or at times when just nothing 
at all was moving, one of them would look up and exclaim, 
" There she comes !" — Then would they continue silent a few 
moments, and afterward, when nothing appeared, would shake 
their heads, brea he out a sigh, and go on with their talk. 

But as they could neither of them think of any thing except 
Undine, the best plan they could devise was, that the old fisher- 
man should relate, and the knight should hear, in what mannei 
Undine had come to the cottage. So the fisherman began aa 
follows : 



10 



UNDINE. 



[CIIAP. II 



" It is now about fifteen years, since I one day crossed the wild 
forest with fish for the city market. My wife had remained at 
home, as she was wont to do ; and at this time for a reason of 
more than common interest ; for although we were beginning 
to feel the advances of age, God had bestov^ed upon us an infant 
of wonderful beauty. It was a little girl, and we already be- 
gan to ask ourselves the question, whether we ought not, for 
the advantage of the new-comer, to quit our solitude, and, the 
better to bring up this precious gift of Heavsn, to remove to 
some more inhabited place. Poor people, to be sure, cannot in 
these cases do all you may think they ought. Sir knight ; but 
still, gracious God ! we must all do as much for our children 
as we possibly can. 

" Well, I went on my way, and this affair would keep running 
in my head. This tongue of land was most dear to me, and I 
shrunk from the thought of leaving it, when, amidst the bustle 
and brawls of the city, I was obliged to reflect in this manner 
by myself : ' In a scene of tumult like this, or at least in one 
not much more quiet, I too must soon take up my abode.' But 
in spite of these feelings, I was far from murmuring against the 
kind providence of God ; on the contrary, when I received this 
new blessing, my heart breathed a prayer of thankfulness too 
deep for words to express. I should also speak an untruth, 
were I to say, that any thing befell me, either on my passage 
through the forest to the city, or on my returning homeward, 
that gave me more alarm than usual, as at that time I had never 
seen any appearance there, which could terrify or annoy me. 
The Lord was ever with me in those awful shades." 

Thus speaking, he took his cap reverently from his bald 
head, and continued to sit, for a considerable time, in devout 
thought. He then covered himself again, and went on with his 
relation : 

" On this side the forest, alas ! it was on this side, that woe 
burst upon me. My wife came wildly to meet me, clad in 
mourning apparel, and her eyes slicaming with tears, ' Gra- 
cious God !' I cried with a ^roan ; 'where's our child? Speak 1* 



CHAP. U.] 



UNDINE. 



11 



" ' With the Being on whom you have called, dear husband,' 
she answered ; and we now entered the cottage together, 
weeping in silence. I looked for the little corse, almost fearing 
to find what I was seeking ; and then it was I first learnt how 
all had happened. 

" My wife had taken the little one in her arms, and walked 
out to the shore of the lake. She there sat down by . ts very 
brink ; and Avhile she was playing with the infant, as free from 
all fear as she was full of delight, it bent forward on a sudden, 
as if seeing something very beautiful in the water. My wife 
saw her laugh, the dear angel, and try to catch the image in 
her little hands ; but in a moment, — with a motion swifter than 
sight, — she sprung from her mother's arms, and sunk in the 
lake, the watery glass into which she had been gazing. I 
searched for our lost darling again and again ; but it was all 
in vain ; I could nowhere find the least trace of her. 

" Well, we were again childless parents, and were now, on 
the same evening, sitting together by our cottage hearth. We 
had no desire to talk, even if our tears would have permitted 
us. As we thus sat in mournful stillness, gazing into the fire, 
all at once we heard something without, — a slight rustling at 
the door. The door flew open, and we saw a little girl, three 
or four years old, and more beautiful than I am able to tell 
you, standing on the threshold, richly dressed and smiling upon 
us. We were struck dumb with astonishment, and I knew not 
for a time, whether the tiny form were a real human being, or 
a mere mockery of enchantment. But I soon perceived water 
dripping from her golden hair and rich garments, and that the 
pretty child had been lying in the water, and stood in imme- 
diate need of our help. 

" ' Wife,' said I, ' no one has been able to save our child for 
us ; still we doubtless ought to do for others, what would make 
ourselves the happiest parents on earth, could any one do us 
the same kindness.' 

" We undressed the little thing, put her to bed, and gave her 
something warming to drink : at all this she spoke not a word, 



13 



UNDINE. 



[cHAi*. n. 



but only turned her eyes upon us, — eyes blue and bright as sea 
or sky, — and continued looking at us Avith a smile. 

" Next morning, we had no reason to fear, that she had re- 
ceived any other harm than her wetting, and I now asked her 
about her parents, and how she could have come to us. But 
the account she gave, was both confused and incredible. She 
must surely have been born far from here, not only because 1 
have been unable, for these fifteen years, to learn any thing of 
her birth, but because she then said, and at times continues to 
say, many things of so very singular a nature, that we neither 
of us know, after all, whether she may not have dropped among 
us from the moon. Then her talk runs upon golden castles, 
crystal domes, and Heaven knows what extravagances beside. 
What of her story, however, she related with most distinctness, 
was this, that while she was once taking a sail with her mo- 
ther on the great lake, she fell out of the boat into the water ; 
and that when she first recovered her senses, she was here un- 
der our trees, where the gay scenes of the shore filled her with 
delight. 

" We now had another care weighing upon our minds, and 
one that caused us no small perplexity and uneasiness. We 
of course very soon determined to keep and bring up the child 
we had found, in place of our own darling that had been 
drowned ; but who could tell us whether she had been baptized 
or not ? She herself could give us no light on the subject. 
When we asked her the question, she commonly made answer, 
that she well knew she was created for God's praise and glory , 
and that as to what might promote the praise and glory of God, 
she was willing to let us determine. 

" My wife and I reasoned in this way : ' If she has not been 
baptized, there can be no use in putting oflf the ceremony ; and 
if she has been, it is more dangerous to have too little of a good 
thing than too much.' 

" Taking this view of our difficulty, we now endeavwed to 
hit upon a good name for the child, since while she remained 
without one, we were often at a loss, in our familiar talk, to 



CHAP. II.J 



UNDINE. 



13 



know what to call her. We at length decided, that Dorothea 
would be most suitable for her, as I had somewhere heard it 
said, that this name signified a Gift of God ; and surely she 
had been sent to us by Providence as a gift, to comfort us in 
our misery. She, on the contrary, would not so much as htar 
Dorothea mentioned : she insisted, that as she had been named 
Undine by her parents, Undine she ought still to be called. 

It now occurred to me, that this was a heathenish name, to 
be found in no calendar, and I resolved to ask the advice of a 
priest in the city. He too would hear nothing of the name, 
Undine ; and yielding to my urgent request, he came with me 
through the enchanted forest, in order to perform the rite of 
baptism here in my cottage. 

" The little maid stood before us so smart in her finery, and 
with so winning an air of gracefulness, that the heart of the 
priest softened at once in her presence ; and she had a way of 
coaxing him so adroitly, and even of braving him at times with 
so merry a queerness, that he at last remembered nothing of his 
many objections to the name of Undine. 

" Thus then was she baptized Undine ; and during the holy 
ceremony, she behaved with great propriety and gentleness, 
wild and wayward as at other times she invariably was. For 
in this my wife was quite right, when she mentioned what care 
and anxiety the child has occasioned us. If 1 should relate to 
you" 

At this moment the knight interrupted the fisherman, with a 
view to direct his attention to a deep sound, as of a rushing 
flood, which had caught his ear, within a few minutes, between 
the words of the old man. And now the waters came pouring 
on with redoubled fury before the cottage windows. Both 
sprang to the door. There they saw, by the light of the now 
risen moon, the brook which issued from the wood, rushing wildly 
over its banks, and whirling onward with it both stones and 
branches of trees in its rapid course. The storm, as if awak- 
ened by the uproar, burst forth from the clouds, whose im.mense 
masses of vapour coursed over the moon with the swiftness of 



14 



UNDINE. 



thought ; the lake roared beneath the wind, that swept the foam 
from its waves ; while the trees of this narrow peninsula 
groaned from root to top-most branch, as they bowed and 
swung above the torrent. 

" Undine ! in God's name, Undine !" cried the two men in 
an agony. No answer was returned ; and now, regardless of 
every thing else, they hurried from the cottage, one in this di- 
rection, the other in that, searching and calling. 



OHAP. III.] 



UNDINE. 



15 



CHAPTER III. 

How they found Undine Again. 

The longer Huldbrand sought Undine beneath the shades of 
night, and failed to find her, the more anxious and confused he 
became. The impression that she was a mere phantom of the 
forest, gLjned a new ascendency over him; indeed, amid the 
howling of the waves and the tempest, the crashing of the trees, 
and so entire a change of the scene, that it bore no resemblance 
to its former calm beauty, he was tempted to view the whole 
peninsula, together with the cottage and its inhabitants, as little 
more than some mockery of his senses ; but still he heard, afar 
off, the fisherman's anxious and incessant shouting, " Undine ! 
Undine !" and also his aged wife, who, with a loud voice and 
a strong feeling of awe, was praying and chanting hymns amid 
the commotion. 

At length, when he drew near to the brook which had over- 
flowed its banks, he perceived by the moonlight, that it had 
taken its wild course directly in front of the haunted forest, so 
as to change the peninsula into an island. 

" Merciful God 1" he breathed to himself, " if Undine has 
ventured one step within that fearful wood, what will become 
of her ? Perhaps it was all owing to her sportive and way- 
ward spirit, because I could give her no account of my adven- 
tures there. And now the stream is rolling between us, she 
may be weeping alone on the other side in the midst of spectral 
horrors !" 

A shuddering groan escaped him, and clambering over some 
f?tones and trunks of overthrown pines, in order to step into the 
impetuous current, he resolved, either by wading or swimming, 
to seek the wanderer on the further shore. He felt, it is true, 



16 



UNDINE. 



[chap. Ill 



all the dread and shrinking awe creeping over him, which he 
had already suffered by daylight among the now tossing and 
roaring branches of the forest. More than all. a tall man in 
white, whom he knew but too well, met his view, as he stood 
grinning and nodding on the grass beyond the water ; but even 
monstrous forms, like this, only impelled him to cross over 
toward them, when the thought rushed upon him, that Undine 
might be there alone, and in the agony of dea.h. 

He had alreatly grasped a stout branch of a pine, and stood 
supporting himself upon it in the whirling current, against 
which he could with difficulty keep himself erect ; but he ad- 
vanced deeper in, with a courageous spirit. That instant, a 
gentle voice of warning cried near him : " Do not venture, do 
not venture ! — that old man, the stream, is too full of tricks to 
be ti'usted !" — He knew the soft tones of the voice ; and while 
he stood as it were entranced, beneath the shadows which now 
duskily veiled the moon, his head swum with the swell and roll- 
ing of the waves, as he every moment saw them foaming and 
dashing above his knee. Still he disdained the thought of 
giving up his purpose. 

" If you are not really there, if you are merely gambolling 
round me like a mist, may I too bid farewell to life, and become 
a shadow like you, dear, dear Undine !"* Thus calling aloud, 
he again moved deeper into the stream. " Look round you, — 
ah pray look round you, beautiful young stranger ! why rush 
on death so madly !" cried the voice a second time close by 
him ; and looking on one side, as the moon by glimpses un- 

* This intensive form of expression is almost as familiar in English as in 
Geniian, and I have not scrupled occasionally to employ it. The following 
example from Thalaba, is one of the most impressive in the language : 
No sound but the wild, wild wind, 
And the snow crunching under his feet." 
These lines from the Ancient Mariner afford another example, and one 
stiW more remarkable : 

" Alone, alone, all, all alone. 
Alone on a wide, wide sea." 



CHAP. HI.] 



UNDINE. 



17 



veiled its light, he perceived a little island formed by the flood, 
and, reclined upon its flowery turf beneath the high branches of 
embowering trees, he saw the smiling and lovely Undine. 

O with what a thrill of delight, compared with the suspense 
and pause of a moment before, the young man now plied his 
sturdy staff! A few steps freed him from the flood, that was 
rushing between himself and the maiden, and he stood near her 
on the little spot of green-sward, in secret security, covered by 
the primeval trees that rustled above them. Undine had par- 
tially risen, within her tent of verdure, and she now threw her 
arms around his neck, so that she gently drew him down upon 
the soft seat by her side. 

" Here you shall tell me your story, my handsome friend," 
she breathed in a low whisper ; " here the cross old people can- 
not disturb us. And, besides, our roof of leaves here will make 
quite as good a shelter, it may be, as their poor cottage." 

" It is heaven itself," cried Huldbrand ; and folding her in 
his arms, he kissed the lovely and affectionate girl with fer- 
vour. 

The old flsherman, meantime, had come to the margin of the 
stream, and he shouted across to the young lovers : " Why 
how is this. Sir knight! I received you with the welcome 
which one true-hearted man gives to another, and now you 
sit there caressing my foster-child in secret, while you suffer 
me in my anxiety to go roaming through the night in quest 
of her." 

" Not till this moment did I find her myself, old father," cried 
the knight across the water. 

" So much the better," said the fisherman ; " but now make 
haste, and bring her over to me upon firm ground." 

To this, however, Undine would by no means consent. She 
declared, that she would rather enter the wild forest itself with 
the beautiful stranger, than return to the cottage, where she 
was so thwarted in her wishes, and from which the handsome 
knight would soon or late go away. Then closely embracing 
3 



i8 UNDINE. [chap. hi. 

HuHbrand, she sung the following verse with the warbling 
sweetness of a bird : 

" A Rill v/ould leave its misty vale, 
And fortunes wild explore ; 
Weary at length it reached the main, 
And sought its vale no more." 

The old fisherman wept bitterly at her song, but his emotion 
seemed to awaken little or no sympathy in her. She kissed and 
caressed her new friend, whom she called her darling, and who 
at last said to her : " Undine, if the distress of the old man 
does not touch your heart, it cannot but move mine. We ought 
to return to him." 

She opened her large blue eyes upon him in perfect amaze- 
ment, and spoke at last with a slow and lingering accent : " If 
you think so, — it is well ; all is right to me, which you think 
right. But the old man over there must first give me his 
promise, that he will allow you, without objection, to relate 
what you saw in the wood, and well, other things will set- 
tle themselves."* 

" Come, do only come !" cried the fisherman to her, unable 
to utter another word. At the same time, he stretched his 
arms wide over the current toward her, and, to give her assu- 
rance that he would do what she required, nodded his head ; 
this motion caused his white hair to fall strangely over his face, 
and Huldbrand could not but remember the nodding white man 
of the forest. Without allowing anything, how^ever, to pro- 
duce in liim the least confusion, the young knight took the 
beautiful girl in his arms, and bore her across the narrow chan- 
nel, which the stream had torn away between her little island 
and the solid shore. The old man fell upon Undine's neck, 
and found it impossible either to express his joy, or to kiss her 
enough ; even the ancient dame came up, and embraced the 

* " Undine evidently meant to have added another condition, but then 
thinking it superfluous, only remarks, — ' well, other things will settle them- 
Bclves.'" C F. 



CHAP. IM.] 



UNDINE. 



19 



recovered girl most cordially. Every word of censure was 
carefully avoided ; the more so indeed, as even Undine, forget- 
ting her waywardness, almost overwhelmed her foster-parents 
with caresses and the prattle of tenderness. 

When at length the excess of their joy at recovering their 
child had subsided, and they seemed to have come to them- 
selves, morning had already dawned, opening to view and 
brightening the waters of the lake. The tempest had become 
hushed, and small birds sung merrily on the moist branches. 

As Undine now insisted upon hearing the recital of the 
knight's promised adventures, the aged couple, smiling with 
good-humour, yielded to her wish. Breakfast was brought 
out beneath the trees, which stood behind the cottage toward 
the lake on the north, and they sat down to it with delighted 
hearts, — Undine lower than the rest (since she would by no 
means allow it to be otherwise) at the knight's feet on the grass. 
These arrangements being made, Huldbrand began his story 
in the following manner. 



so UNDINE. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Of what had happened to the Knight in the forest. 

" It is now about eight days since I rode into the free imperial 
city, which lies yonder on the further side of the forest. Soon 
after my arrival, a splendid tournament and running at the ring 
took place there, and I spared neither my horse nor my lance 
in the encounters. 

" Once, while I was pausing at the lists, to rest from the 
brisk exercise, and was handing back my helmet to one of my 
attendants, a female figure of extraordinary beauty caught my 
attention, as, most magnificently attired, she stood looking on at 
one of the balconies. I learnt, on making inquiry of a person 
near me, that the name of the gay young lady was Bertalda, 
and that she was a foster-daughter of one of the powerful dukes 
of this country. She too, I observed, was gazing at me, and 
the consequences were such, as we young knights are wont to 
experience : whatever success in riding I might have had before, 
I was now favoured with still better fortune. That evening I 
was Bertalda's partner in the dance, and I enjoyed the same 
distinction during the remainder of the festival." 

A sharp pain in his left hand, as it hung carelessly beside 
him, here interrupted Huldbrand's relation, and drew his eye to 
the part affected. Undine had fastened her pearly teeth, 
and not without some keenness too, upon one of his fingers, 
ap])earing at the same time very gloomy and displeased. On 
a sudden, however, she looked up in his eyes with an expres- 
sion of tender melancholy, and whispered almost inaudibly : 
" You blame me, but it was all your own fault."* 

* " That is, you act or speak in such a manner, as to make me treat you 
rudely. Why do you say such provoking things ? — It is a kind of tendel 
reproof, in se'^-defence." C. ,F. 



CHAP. IV.' 



UNDINE. 



21 



She then covered her face, and the knight, .-strangely embar- 
rassed and thoughtful, went on with his story : 

" This lady Bertalda of whom I spoke, is of a proud and 
wayward spirit. The second day I saw her she pleased m^ by 
no means so much as she had the first, and the third day still 
less. But I continued about her, because she showed me more 
favour than she did any other knight ; and it so happened, that 
I playfully asked her to give me one of her gloves. 

" ' When you have entered the haunted forest all alone,' said 
she ; ' when you have explored its wonders, and brought me a 
full account of them, the glove is yours.' 

" As to getting her glove, it was of no importar ce to me 
whatever, but the word had been spoken, and no honourable 
knight would permit himself to be urged to such a proof of val- 
our a second time." 

" I thought," said Undine, interrupting him, " that she loved 
you." 

" It did appear so," replied Huldbrand. 

" Well !" exclaimed the maiden laughing, " this is beyond 
belief ; she must be very stupid and heartless. To drive from 
her one who was dear to her ! And, worse than all, into that 
ill-omened wood ! The wood and its mysteries, for all I should 
have cared, might have waited a long while." 

" Yesterday morning, then," pursued the knight, smiling 
brightly upon Undine, " I set out from the city, my enterprise 
before me. The early light lay rich upon the verdant turf It 
shone so rosy on the slender boles of the trees, and there was so 
merry a whispering among the leaves, that in my heart I cou]d 

'*not but laugh at people, who feared meeting any thing to ter- 
rify them in a spot so delicious. * I shall soon trot through the 
forest, and as speedily return,' I said to myself in the overflow of 

' joyous feeling ; and ere I was well aware, I had entered deep 
among the green shades, while of the plain that lay behind me, 
I was no more able to catch a glimpse. 

" Then the conviction for the first time impressed me, that 
in a forest of so great extent I might very easily become bewil- 



23 



UNDINE. 



[chap. it. 



dered, and that this perhaps might be the only danger, which 
was Hkely to threaten those who explored its recesses. So I 
made a halt, and turned myself in the direction of the sun, 
which had meantime risen somewhat higher ; and while I was 
looking up to observe it, I saw something black among the 
boughs of a lofty oak. My first thought was, — ' It is a bear !' 
and I grasped my weapon of defence ; the object then accosted 
me from above in a human voice, but n a tone most narsh and 
hideous : ' If I overhead here do not gnaw off these dry branches, 
Sir Wiseacre, what shall we have to roast you with, when mid- 
night comes?' And with that it grinned, and made such a rat- 
thng with the branches, that my courser became mad with af- 
fright, and rushed furiously forward with me, before I had time 
to see distinctly what sort of a devil's beast it was." 

" You must not name it," said the old fisherman, crossing 
himself ; his wife did the same without speaking a word ; and 
Undine, while her eye sparkled with glee, looked at her beloved 
knight and said : " The best of the story is, however, that as 
yet they have not actually roasted you. But pray make haste, 
my handsome young friend. I long to hear more." 

The knight then went on with his adventures : " My horse 
was so wild, that he well-nigh rushed with me against limbs 
and trunks of trees. He was dripping with sweat, through 
terror, heat, and the violent straining of his muscles. Still he 
refused to slacken his career. At last, altogether beyond my 
control, he took his course directly up a stony steep ; when 
suddenly a tall white man flashed before me, and threw him- 
self athwart the way my mad steed was taking. At this appa- 
rition he shuddered with new affright, and stopt, trembling. I 
took this chance of recovering my command of him, and now 
for the first time perceived, that my deliverer, so far from being 
a white man, was only a brook of silver brightness, foaming 
near me in its descent from the hill, while it crossed and arrested 
my horse's course with its rush of waters." 

" Thanks, thanks, dear Brook," cried Undine, clapping her 



CHAP IV.j 



UNDINE. 



23 



little hands. But the old man shook his head, and, deeply- 
musing-, looked vacantly down before him. 

" Hardly had I well settled myself in my saddle, and got the 
reins in my grasp again," Huldbrand pursued, " when a wizard- 
like dwarf of a man was already standing at my side, diminu- 
tive and ugly beyond conception, his complexion of a brownish 
yellow, and his nose scarcely of less magnitude than all the 
rest of him. The fellow's mouth was slit almost from ear to 
ear, and he showed his teeth with a simpering smile of .jdiot 
courtesy, while he overwhelmed me with bows and scrapes in- 
numerable. The farce now becoming excessively irksome, I 
thanked him in the fewest words I could well use, turned about 
my still trembling charger, and purposed either to seek another 
adventure, or, should I meet with none, to pick my way back 
to the city ; for the sun, during my wild chase, had passed the 
meridian, and was now hastening toward the west. But this 
villain of a manikin sprung at the same instant, and, with a turn 
as rapid as lightning, stood before my horse again. ' Clear the 
way there !' I fiercely shouted ; ' the beast is wild, and will 
make nothing of running over you.' 

" 'He wdll, will he !' cried the imp with a snarl, and snorting 
out a laugh still more frightfully idiotic ; ' pay me, first pay 
what you owe me, — I stopt your fine little nag for you ; without 
my help, both you and he would be now sprawling below 
there in that stony ravine. Hu ! from what a horrible plunge 
I've saved you.' 

" ' Well, pray don't stretch your mouth any wider,' said I, 
' but take your drink-money and be off, though every word you 
say is false. See, it was the kind brook there, you miserable 
thing, and not you, that saved me.' And at the same time I 
dropt a piece of gold into his wizard cap, which he had taken 
from his head while he was begging before me. 

" I then trotted off and left him ; but, to make bad worse, he 
screamed after me, and on a sudden, with inconceivable quick- 
ues^^, he was close by my side. 1 started my horse into a gal- 



94 



UNDINE. 



CHAP, rv 



lop ; he galloped on with me, impossible for him as it appeared ; 
and with this strange movement, half ludicrous and half horri- 
ble, forcing at the same time every limb and feature into distor- 
tion, he kept raising the gold piece as high as he could stretch 
his arm, and screaming at every leap : ' Counterfeit ! false ! 
false coin ! counterfeit !' and such were the croaking sounds that 
issued from his hollow breast, you would have supposed, that, 
every time he made them, he must have tumbled upon the 
ground dead. All this while, his disgusting red tongue hung 
lolling far out of his mouth. 

" Discomposed at the sight, I stopped and asked him : ' What 
do 3^ou mean by your screaming ? Take another piece of gold, 
take two more, — but leave me.' 

" He then began to make his hideous salutations of courtesy 
again, and snarled out as before : ' Not gold, it shall not be 
gold, my smart young gentleman ; I have too much of that 
trash already, as I will show you in no-time.' 

" At that moment, and thought itself could not have been 
more instantaneous, I seemed to have acquired new powers of 
sight. I could see through the solid green plain, as if it were 
green glass, and the smooth surface of the earth were round as 
a globe ; and within it I saw crowds of goblins, who were pur- 
suing their pastime, and making themselves merry with silver 
and gold. They were tumbling and rolling about, heads up 
and heads down : they pelted one another in sport with the 
precious metals, and with irritating malice blew gold dust in 
one another's eyes. My odious companion stood half within 
and half without ; he ordered the others to reach him up a vast 
quantity of gold ; this he showed to me with a laugh, and then 
flung it again ringing and chinking do^vn the measureles? 
abyss. 

" After this contemptuous disregard of gold, he held up the 
piece I had given him, showing it to his brother gnomes below, 
and they laughed themselves half dead at a bit so worthless, 
and hissed me. At last, raising their fingers all smutched with 
ore, they pointed them at me in scorn, and wilder and wilder, 



CHAP. IV.J 



UNDINE. 



25 



and thicker and thicker, and madder and madder, the crowd 
were clambering up to where I sat gazing at these wonders. 
Then terror seized me, as it had before seized my horse. I 
drove my spurs into his sides ; and how far he rushed headlong 
with me through the forest, during this second of my wild heats, 
it is impossible to say. 

" At ..ast, when I had now come to a dead halt again, the 
cool of evening was around me. I caught the gleam of a white 
foot-path through the branches of the trees ; and presuming it 
would lead me out of the forest toward the city, I was desirous 
of working my way into it ; but a face perfectly white and in- 
distinct, with features forever changing, kept thrusting itself out 
and peering at me between the leaves. I tried to avoid it; 
but wherever I went, there too appeared the unearthly face. 
I was maddened with rage at this interruption, and drove my 
steed at the appearance fall-tilt ; when such a cloud of white 
foam came rushing upon me and my horse, that we were al- 
most blinded and glad to turn about and escape. Thus from 
step to step it forced us on, and ever aside from the foot-path, 
leaving us, for the most part, only one direction open. But 
when we advanced in this, although it kept following close 
behind us, it did not occasion the smallest harm or inconve- 
r^ience. 

" At times, when I looked about me at the form, I perceived 
that the white face, which had splashed upon us its shower of 
foam, was resting on a body equally white and of more than 
gigantic size. Many a time, too, I received the impression, 
that the whole appearance was nothing more than a wandering 
stream or torrent, but respecting this I could never attain to 
any certaint}^ We both of us, horse and rider, became weary, 
as we shaped our course according to the movements of the 
white man, who continued nodding his head at us, as if he 
would say, ' Perfectly right ! perfectly right !' — And thus, at 
length, we came out here at the edge of the wood, where I saw 
the fresh turf, the waters of the lake, and your little cottage, 
and where the tall white man disappeared." 



26 UNDINE. [chap. iv. 

" Well, Heaven be praised that he is gone !" cried the old 
fisherman ; and he now fell to considering how his guest could 
most conveniently return to his friends in the city. Upon ihis, 
Undine began tittering to herself, but so very low that the 
Bound was hardly perceivable. Huldbrand, observing it, said : 
" I had hoped you would see me remain here with pleasure ; 
why then do you now appear so happy, when our talk turns 
upon my going away ?" 

" Because you cannot go away," answered Undine. " Pray 
make a single attempt ; try with a wherr}^, with your horse 
or alone, as you please, to cross that forest-stream which has 
burst its bounds. Or rather, make no trial at all, for you 
would be dashed to pieces by the stones and trunks of trees, 
which you see driven on with such violence. And as to the 
lake, I am well acquainted with that ; even my father dares 
not venture out with his wherry far enough to help you." 

Huldbrand rose, smiling, in order to look about, and observe 
whether the state of things were such, as Undine had repre- 
sented it to be ; the old man accompanied him, and the maiden, 
in mockery, went gamboling and playing her antics beside 
them. They found all, in fact, just as Undine had said, and that 
the knight, whether walling or not willing, must submit to re- 
main on the island, so lately a peninsula, until the flood should 
subside. 

When the three were now returning to the cottage, after 
their ramble, the knight whispered in the ear of the little girl : 
" Well, dear Undine, how is it with you ? Are you angry on 
account of my remaining ?" 

" Ah," she pettishly made answer, " not a word of that. If 
I had not bitten you, who knows what line things you would 
have put into your story about Bctalda !" 



CHAP. V.J 



UNDINE. 



27 



CHAPTER V. 

How the Knight Hired on the point of land, now encircled by the lake. 

At some period of your life, my dear reader, after being much 
driven to and fro in the world, you may have reached a situa- 
tion where all was well with you ; that love for the calm secu- 
rity of our own fireside, which we all feel as an affection born 
with us, again rose within you ; you imagined that your home 
would again bloom forth, as from a cherished grave, with all 
the flowers of childhood, the purest and most impassioned love ; 
and that, in such a spot, it must be delightful to take up your 
abode, and build your tabernacle for life. Whether you were 
mistaken in this, and afterward made a severe expiation for your 
error, it suits not my purpose to inquire, and you would be un- 
willing yourself, it may be, to be saddened by a recollection so 
ungrateful. But again awake within you that foretaste of bliss, 
so inexpressibly sweet, that angelic salutation of peace, and you 
will be able, perchance, to understand something of the knight 
Huldbrand's happiness, while he remained on the point of land, 
now surrounded by the lake. 

He frequently observed, and no doubt with heartfelt satis- 
faction, that the forest-stream continued every day to swell and 
loll on with a more impetuous sweep ; that, by tearing away 
the earth, it scooped out a broader and broader channel ; and 
that the time of his seclusion on the island became, in conse- 
quence, more and more extended. Part of the day he wan- 
dered about with an old cross-bow, which he found in a corner 
of the cottage, and had repaired, in order to shoot the water- 
fowl that flew over ; and all that he was lucky enough to hit, 
he brought home for a good roast in the kitchen. When he 
came in with his booty, Undine seldom failed to greet him Avith 



1 

28 UNDINE. [chap. t. 

a scolding, because he had cruelly deprived her dear merry 
friends of life, as they were sporting above in the blue ocean 
of the air; nay more, she often wept bitterly, when she viewed 
the water-fowl dead in his hand. But at other times, when he 
returned without having shot any, she gave him a scolding 
equally serious, since, owing to his indolent strolling and awk- 
ward handling of the bow, they must now put up with a dinner 
of pickerel and crawfish. Her playful taunts ever touched his 
heart with delight ; the more so, as she afterwards strove to 
make up for her pretended ill-humour with the most endearing 
of caresses. 

In this familiarity of the young people, their aged friends 
saw a resemblance to the feelings of their own youth : they ap- 
peared to look upon them as betrothed, or even as a young 
married pair, that lived with them in their agepto afford them 
assistance -on their island, now torn off from the mainland. 
The loneliness of his situation strongly impressed also young 
Huldbrand with the feeling, that he was already Undine's 
bridegroom. It seemed to him, as if, beyond those encompass- 
ing floods, there were no other world in existence, or at any 
rate as if he could never cross them, and again associate with 
the world of other men ; and when at times his grazing steed 
raised his head and neighed to him, seemingly inquiring after 
his nightly achievements and reminding him of them, or when 
his coat of arms sternly shone upon him from the embroidery * 
of his saddle, and the caparisons of his horse, or when his 
sword happened to fall from the nail on which it was hanging 
in the cottage, and flashed on his eye as it slipped from the 
scabbard in its fall, — he quieted the doubts of his mind by say- 
ing to himself: " Undine cannot be a fisherman's daughter ; she 
is, in all probability, a native of some remote region, and a 
member of some illustrious family." 

There was one thing, indeed, to which he had a strong aver- ' 
sion : this was to hear the old dame reproving Undine. The 
wild girl, it is true, commonly laughed at the reproof, making 
no attempt to conceal the extravagance of her mirth ; but it ap- 



CHAP, v.] 



* UNDINE. 



89 



peared to him like touching his own honour ; and still he found 
it impossible to blame the aged wife of the fisherman, since Un- 
dine always deserved at leasi ten times as many reproofs as she 
received : so he continued to feel in his heart an affectionate 
tenderness for them all, even for the ancient mistress of the 
house, and his whole life flowed on in the calm stream of con- 
tentment. 

There came, however, an interruption at last. The fisher- 
man and the knight had been accustomed at dinner, and also in 
the evening, when the wind roared without, as it rarely failed 
to do toward night, to enjoy together a flask of wine. But now 
their whole stock, which the fisherman had from time to time 
brought with him from the city, was at last exhausted, and 
they were both quite out of humour at the circumstance. That 
day Undine laughed at them excessively, but they were not 
disposed to join in her jests with the same gaiety as usual To- 
ward evening she went out of the cottage, to escape, as she said, 
the sight of two such long and tiresome faces. 

While it was yet twilight, some appearances of a tempest 
seemed to be agam nmsiering in the sky, and the waves al- 
ready rushed and roared around them : the knight and the 
fisherman sprung to the door in terror, to bring home the 
maiden, remembering the anguish of that night, when Huld- 
brand had first entered the cottage. But Undine met them at 
the same moment, clapping her little hands in high glee. 

" What will you give me," she cried, " to provide you with 
wine ? or rather, you need not give me any thing," she contin- 
ued ; " for I am already satisfied, if you look more cheerful, 
and are in better spirits, than throughout this last most weari- 
some day. Do only come with me one minute ; the forest- 
stream has driven ashore a cask ; and I will be condemned to 
sleep a whole week, if it is not a wine-cask." 

The men followed her, and actually found, in f» bushy cove 
of the shore, a cask, which inspired them with as much joy, acs 
if they were sure it contained the generous old wine, for which 
they were thirsting. They first of all, and with as much ex- 



30 



UNDINE. 



[chap V 



pedition as possible rolled it toward the cottage ; for heavy 
clouds were again rising in the west, and they could discern the 
waves of the lake, in the fading light, lifting their white foam- 
ing heads, as if looking out for the rain, which threatened every 
instant to pour upon them. Undine helped the men, as much 
as she was able ; and as the shower, with a roar of wind, came 
suddenly sweeping on in rapid pursuit, she raised her finger 
with a merry menace toward the dark mass of clouds, and 
cried : " You cloud, you cloud, have a care ! — beware how you 
wet us ; we are some way from shelter yet." 

The old man reproved her for this sally, as a sinful presump- 
tion ; but she laughed to herself with a low tittering, and no 
mischief came from her wild behaviour. Nay more, what was 
beyond their expectation, they all three reached their comfort- 
able hearth unwet, with their prize secured ; but the moment 
the cask had been broached, and proved to contain wine of a 
remarkably fine flavour, then the rain first poured unrestrained 
from the black cloud, the tempest raved through the tops of the 
trees, and swept far over the billows of the deep. 

Having immediately filled several bottles from the large cask, 
which promised them a supply for a long time, they drew round 
the flowing hearth ; and comfortably secured from the violence 
of the storm, they sat tasting the flavour of their wine, and ban- 
dying their quips and pleasantries. 

As reflection returned upon him, the old fisherman all at once 
became very grave, and said : " Ah, great God ! here we sit, 
rejoicing over this rich gift, while he to whom it first belonged, 
and I'rom whom it was wrested by the fury of the stream, must 
there also, it is more than probable, have lost his life." 

" His fate, I trust, was not quite so melancholy as that," said 
Undine, while, smilino^, she filled the knight's cup to the brim. 

*But he exclaimed : " By my unsullied honour, old father, if 
I knew where to find and rescue him, no fear of exposure to 
the night, nor any peril, should deter me from making the at- 
tempt. But I give you all the assurance I am able to give, that 
if 1 ever reach an inhabited country again, I will find out tha 



CHAP. V ] 



UNDINE. 



31 



owner of this wine or his heirs, and make double and triple re- 
imbursement." 

The old man was gratified with this assurance ; he gave the 
knight a nod of approbation, and now drained his cup with an 
easier conscience and more relish. 

Undine, however, said to Huldbrand : " As to the repayment 
and your gold, you may do whatever you like. But what you 
said about your venturing out, and searchinij-, and exposing 
yourself to danger, appears to me far from wise. I should cry 
my very eyes out, should you perish there on such a wild jaunt ; 
and is it not true, that you would prefer staying here with me 
and the good wine ?" 

" Most assuredly," answered Huldbrand, smiling. 

" Well, then," replied Undine, " you see you spoke unwise- 
ly. For charity begins at home ; our neighbour ought not to 
be our first thought ; and whatever is a calamity to him, would 
be one in our own case also." 

The mistress of the house turned away from her, sighing and 
shaking her head, while the fisherman forgot his wonted indul- 
gence toward the graceful little girl, and thus reproved her : 

" That sounds exactly as if you had been brought up by 
heathens and Turks;" and he finished his reproof by adding : 
" May God forgive both me and you, — unfeeling child !" 

" Well, say what you will, this is what / think and feel," re- 
plied Undine, " whoever brought me up, — and how can a thou- 
sand of your words help it ?" 

" Silence !" exclaimed the fisherman in a voice of stern re- 
buke ; and she, who with all her wild spirit was at the same 
time extremely alive to fear, shrunk from him, moved close up 
to Huldbrand, trembling, and said very softly : 

" Are you also angry, dear friend ?" ' 

The knight pressed her soft hand, and tenderly stroked her 
locks. He was unable to utter a word ; for his vexation, aris- 
ing from the old man's severity toward Undine, closed his lips ; 
and thus the two couple sat opposite to pach other at once 
heated with anger and in embarrassed silence. 



32 



UNDINE. 



LCHAP. VL 



CHAPTER VI. 

A Wedding. 

In the midst of this painful stillness, a low knockii g was heard 
at the door, which struck all in the cottage with dismay ; for 
there are times when a slight circumstance, coming unexpect- 
edly upon us, startles us like something supernatural. But 
here it was a further source of alarm, that the enchanted forest 
lay so near them, and that their place of ahode seemed at pre- 
sent inaccessible to the visit of any human being. While they 
were looking upon one another in doubt, the knocking was 
again heard, accompanied with a deep groan. The knight 
sprang to seize his sword. But the old man said in a low 
whisper : 

" If it be what I fear it is, no weapon of yours can protect 
us." 

Undine, in the mean while, went to the door, and cried with 
the firm voice of fearless displeasure : " Spirits of the earth ! 
if mischief be your aim, Kuhleborn shall teach you better 
manners." 

The terror of the rest was increased by this wild speech ; 
they looked fearfully upon the girl, and Huldbrand was just 
recovering presence of mind enough to ask what she meant, 
when a voice reached them from without : 

" I am no spirit of the earth, though a spirit still in its 
earthly body. You that are within the eottage there, if you 
fear God and would afford me assistance, open your door to 
me." 

By the time these words were spoken. Undine had already 
opened it ; and the lamp throwing a strong light upon the stormy 
night, they perceived an aged priest without, who stepped back 



OWAP. VI ] 



UNDIJNE. 



33 



in terror, when his eye fell on the unexpected sight of a little 
damsel of such exquisite beauty. Well might he think there 
must be magic in the wind, and witchcraft at work, where a 
form of such surpassing loveliness appeared at the door of so 
humble a dwelling. So he lifted up his voice in prayer : 

" Let all good spirits praise the Lord God !" 

" I am no spectre," said Undine with a smile. " Do you 
think, indeed, I look so very frightful? And more, — you cannot 
but bear me witness yourself, that I am far from shrinking ter- 
rified at your holy words. I too have knowledge of God, and 
understand the duty of praising him ; every one, to be sure, has 
his own way of doing this, and this privilege he meant we 
should enjoy, when he gave us being. Walk in, father ; you 
will find none but worthy people here." 

The holy man came bowing in, and cast round a glance of 
scrutiny, wearing at the same time a very placid and venerable 
air. But water was dropping from every fold of his dark gar- 
ments, from his long white beard, and the w^hite locks of his 
hair. The fisherman and the knight took him to another apart- 
ment, and furnished him with a change of raiment, while they 
handed his own clothes into the room they had left, for the fe- 
males to dry. The aged stranger thanked them in a manner 
the most humble and courteous, but on the knight's offering him 
his splendid cloak to wrap round him, he could not be persuaded 
to take it, but chose instead an old gray overcoat that belonged 
to the fisherman. 

They then returned to the common apartment. The mis- 
tress of the house immediately offered her great chair to the 
priest, and continued urging it upon him, till she saw him fairly 
in possession of it. " You are old and exhausted," said she, 
" and are moreover a man of God." 

Undine shoved under the stranger's feet her little cricket, cri 
which at other times she used to sit near to Huldbrand, and 
showed herself, in thus promoting the comfort of the worthy old 
man, in the highest degree gentle and amiable. On her paying 
4 



34 



UNDINE. 



[chap. VI. 



nim these little attentions, Huldbrand whispered some raillery 
in her ear, but she replied gravely : 

" He is a minister of that Being, who created us all, and 
holy things are not to be treated with lightness." 

The knight and the fisherman now refreshed the priest with 
food and wine ; and when he had somewhat recovered his 
strength and spirits, he began to relate how he had the day be- 
fore set out from his cloister, which was situated afar off beyond 
the great lake, in order to visit the bishop, and acquaint him 
with, the distress, into which the cloister and its tributary vil- 
lages had fallen, owing to the extraordinary floods. After a 
long and wearisome wandering, on account of the same rise 
of the waters, he had been this day compelled toward evening 
to procure the aid of a couple of stout boatmen, and cross over 
an arm of the lake which had burst its usual boundary. 

" But hardly," continued he, " had our small ferry-boat 
touched the waves, when that furious tempest burst forth, which 
is still rag-inof over our heads. It seemed as if the billows had 
been waiting our approach, only to rush upon us with a mad- 
ness the more wild. The oars were wrested from the grasp of 
my men in an instant ; and shivered by the resistless force, 
they drove further and further out before us upon the waves. 
Unable to direct our course, w^e yielded to the blind power of 
nature, and seemed to fly over the surges toward your remote 
shore, which we already saw looming through the mist and 
foam of the deep. Then it was at last, that our boat turned 
short from its course, and rocked with a motion that became 
more and more wild and dizzy : I know not whether it was 
overset, or the violence of the motion threw me overboard. 
In my agony and struggle at the thought of a near and terri- 
ble death, the waves bore me onward, till one of them cast me 
ashore here beneath the trees of your island." 

" Yes, an island !" cried the fisherman. " A short time ago 
it was only a point of land. But now, since the forest-stream 
and lake have become all but mad, it appears to be entirely 
changed." 



CHAi". VI.] 



UNDINE. 



" I observed something of it," replied the priest, " as I stole 
along the shore in the obscurity ; and hearing nothing around 
me but a sort of wild uproar, I perceived at last, that the noise 
came from a point, exactly where a beaten foot-path disap- 
peared. I now caught the light in your cottage, and ventured 
hither, where I cannot sufficiently thank my Father in heaven, 
' ' that, after preserving me from the waters, he has also con- 
ducted me to such pious people as you are ; and the more so, 
as it is difficult to say, Avhether I shall ever behold any other 
persons in this world except you four." 

" What mean you by those words ?" asked the fisherman. 

" Can you tell me, then, how long this commotion of the ele- 
ments will last ?" returned the holy man. " And the years of 
my pilgrimage are many. The stream of my life may easily 
sink into the ground and vanish, before the overflowing of 
that forest-stream shall subside. Indeed, taking a general view 
of things, it is not impossible, that more and more of the foam- 
ing waters may rush in between you and yonder forest, until 
you are so far removed from the rest of the world, that your 
small fishing-canoe may be incapable of passing over, and the 
inhabitants of the continent entirely forget you in your old age 
amid the dissipation and diversions of life." 

At this melancholy foreboding, the old lady shrunk back 
with a feeling of alarm, crossed herself, and cried : " May Grod 
forbid !" 

But the fisherman looked upon her with a smile, and said : 
"What a strange being is man! Suppose the worst to happen: 
our state would not be different, at any rate your own would 
not, dear wife, from what it is at present. For have you, 
these many years, been further from home than the border of 
the forest ? And have you seen a single human being besides 
Undine and myself? — It is now only a short time since the 
coming of the knight and the priest. They will remain with 
us, even if we do become a forgotten island ; so after all you 
will derive the best advantage from the disaster." 

^' I know not," replied the ancient dame, " it is a disma' 



3€ UNDINE. [chap. vi. 

thought, when brought fairly home to the mind, that we are 
forever separated from mankind, even though, in fact, we never 
do know nor see them." 

" Then t/ou will remain with us, then you will remain with 
us !" whispered Undine in a voice scarcely audible and half sing- 
ing, while with the intense fervour of the heart she nestled 
more and more closely to Huldbrand's side. But he was ab- 
sorbed in the deep and strange musings of his own mind. The 
region, on the other side of the forest-river, seemed, since the 
last words of the priest, to have been withdrawing further and 
iurther, in dim perspective, from his view ; and the blooming 
island on which he lived, grew green and smiled more freshly 
before the eye of his mind. His bride glowed like the fairest 
rose, — not of this obscure nook only, but even of the whole wide 
world, and the priest was now present. 

Beside these hopes and reveries of love, another circumstance 
influenced him : the mistress of the family was directing an 
angry glance at the fair girl, because, even in the presence of 
the priest, she was leaning so fondly on her darling knight; 
and it seemed as if she was on the point of breaking out in harsh 
reproof Then was the resolution of Huldbrand taken; his 
heart and mouth were opened ; and turning toward the priest, 
he said, " Father, you here see before you an affianced pair, and 
if this maiden and therse worthy people of the island have no 
objection, you shall unite us this very evening." 

The aged couple were both exceedingly surprised. They 
had often, it is true, thought of this, but as yet they had never 
mentioned it ; and now when the knight made the attachment 
known, it came upon them like something wholly new and un- 
expected. Undine became suddenly grave, and cast her eyes 
upon the floor in a deep reverie, while the priest made inqui- 
ries respecting the circums'tances of their acquaintance, and 
a^lved the old people whether they gave their consent to the 
union. After a great number of questions and answers, the 
ailair was arranged to the satisfaction of all ; and the mistress 
of the house went to prepare the bridal apartment for the young 



CHAP VI.] 



UNDINE. 



37 



couple, and also, with a view to grace the nuptial solemnity 
to seek for two consecrated tapers, which she had for a long 
time kept hy her for this occasion. 

7.'he knight in the mean while busied himself ahout his gold 
chain, for the purpose of disengaging two of its- links, that he 
might make an exchange of rings with his bride. But when 
she saw his object, she started from her trance of musing, and 
exclaimed : 

" Not so ! my parents were far from sending me into the 
world so perfectly destitute ; on the contrary, they must have 
foreseen, even at so early a period, that such a night as this 
would come." 

Thus speaking, she was out of the room m a mom.ent, and a 
moment after returned with two costly rings, of which she 
gave one to her bridegroom, and kept the other for herself 
The old fisherman was beyond measure astonished at this ; and 
fiis wife, who was just re-entering the room, was even more 
surprised than he, that neither of them had ever seen these jew- 
els in the child's possession. 

" My parents," said Undine, " made me sew these trinkets 
to that beautiful raiment, which I wore the very day I came to 
you. They also charged me on no account whatever, to men- 
tion them to any one before the evening I should be married. 
At the time of my coming, therefore, I took them off in secret, 
and have kept them concealed to the present hour." 

The priest now cut short all further questioning and wonder- 
ing, while he lighted the consecrated tapers, placed them on 
a table, and ordered the bridal pair to stand directly before him. 
He then pronounced the few solemn words of the ceremony, 
and made them one ; the elder couple gave the j^ounger their 
blessing ; and the bride, slightly trembling and thoughtful, 
leaned upon the knight. 

The priest then spoke plainly and at once : " You are 
strange people after all ; for why did you tell me you were the 
only inhabitants of the island ? So far is this from being true, 
I have seen, the whole time T have been performing the cere- 



38 



UNDINE. 



[chap. VI 



mony, a tall, stately man, in a white mantle, stand opposito to 
me, looking in at the window. He must he still waiting he- 
fore the door, if peradventure you would invite him to come 
in." 

" God forhid !" cried the old lady, shrinking hack ; the fish- 
erman shook his head without opening his lips, and Huldhrand 
sprang to the window. It appeared to him^ that he could still 
discern some vestige of a form, white and indistinct as a va- 
pour, hut it soon wholly disappeared in the gloom. He con- 
vinced the priest that he must have heen quite mistaken in his 
impression ; and now, inspired with the freedom and fa.aiiliari- 
ty of perfect confidence, they all sat down together round a 
bright and comfortable hearth. 



CHAP. VII.] 



UNDINE. 



39 



CHAPTER VII. 

What further happened on the evening of the wedding. 

Before the nuptial ceremony, and during its performance, 
Undine had shown a modest gentleness and maidenly reserve ; 
but it now seemed as if all the wayward freaks that effervesced 
within her, were foaming and bursting forth with an extrava- 
gance only the more bold and unrestrained. She teased her 
bridegroom, her foster-parents, and even the priest, whom she 
had just now revered so highly, with all sorts of childish tricks 
and vagaries; and w^hen the ancient dame was about to re- 
prove her too frolicksome spirit, the knight, by a few serious 
and expressive words, imposed silence upon her by calling Un- 
dine his wife. 

The knight was himself, indeed, just as little pleased with 
Undine's childish behaviour as the rest ; but still, all his wink- 
ing, hemming, and expressions of censure were to no purpose. 
It is true, whenever the bride observed the dissatisfaction of her 
husband, — and this occasionally happened, — she became more 
quiet, placed herself beside him, stroked his face with caressing 
fondness, whispered something smilingly in his ear, and in this 
manner smoothed the WTinkles that were gathering on his brow. 
But the moment after, some wild whim would make her resume 
her antic movement^, and all went worse than before. 

The priest then spoke in a kind, although serious tone : "My 
])leasant young friend, surely no one can witness your playful 
spirit without being diverted ; but remember betimes so to at- 
tune your soul, that it may produce a harmony ever in accor- 
dance with the soul of your wedded bridegroom." 

" Soul !" cried Undine, with a laugh, nearly allied to one of 
derision ; " what you say has a remarkably pretty sound, and 



40 



UNDINE. 



[chap. vn. 



for most people, too, it may be a very instructive rule and profit- 
able caution. But when a person has no soul at all, how, I pray 
you, can such attuning be possible ? And this in truth is just 
my condition." 

The priest was much hurt, but continued silent in holy dis- 
pleasure, and turned away his face from the maiden in sorrow. 
She, however, went up to him with the most winring sweet- 
ness, and said : 

" Nay, I entreat you, first listen to some particulars, before 
you frown upon me in anger ; for your frown of anger is pain- 
ful to me, and you ought not to give pain to a creature, that has 
itself done nothing injurious to you. Only have patience with 
me, and I will explain to you every word of what I meant." 

She had come to the resolution, it was evident, to give a full 
account of herself, when she suddenly faltered, as if seized with 
an inward shuddering, and burst into a passion of tears. They 
were none of them able to understand the intenseness of her 
feelings, and with mingled emotions of fear and anxiety, they 
gazed on her in silence. Then wiping away her tears, and look- 
ing earnestly at the priest, she at last said : 

" There must be something lovely, but at the same time 
something most awful, about a soul. In the name of God, 
holy man, were it not better that we never shared a gift so mys- 
terious ?" 

Again she paused and restrained her tears, as if waiting for 
an answer. All in the cottage had risen from their seats, and 
stept back from her with horror. She, however, seemed to have 
eyes for no one but the holy man ; a fearful curiosity was paint- 
ed on her features, and this made her emotion appear terrible to 
the others. 

" Heavily must the soul weigh down its possessor," she pur- 
sued, when no one returned her any answer, " very heavily ! 
for already its approaching image overshadows me with an- 
guish and mourning. And, alas ! I have till now been so mer- 
ry and light-hearted !" — And she burst into another flood of 
tears, and covered her face with her veil. 



CHAP. VII.] 



UNDINE. 



41 



The priest, going up to her with a solemn look, now addressed 
himself to her, and conjured her in the name of God most holy, 
if any evil or spirit of evil possessed her, to remove the light 
covering from her face. But she sunk before him on her knees, 
and repeated after him every sacred expression he uttered, 
giving praise to God, and protesting that she wished well to the 
whole world. 

The priest then spoke to the knight : " Sir bridegroom, I leave 
you alone with her, whom I have united to you in marriage. 
So far as I can discover, there is nothing of evil in her, but 
of a truth much that is wonderful. What I recommend to you 
in domestic life, is prudence, love, and fidelity." 

Thus speaking, he left the apartment, and the fisherman with 
his wife followed him, crossing themselves. 

Undine had sunk upon her knees ; she uncovered her face 
and exclaimed, while she looked fearfully round upon Huld- 
brand : " Alas, you will now refuse to look upon me as your 
own ; and still I have done nothing evil, poor unhappy child 
that I am !" She spoke these words with a look so infinitely 
sweet and touching, that her bridegroom forgot both the con- 
fession that had shocked, and the mystery that had perplexed 
him ; and hastening to her, he raised her in his arms. She 
smiled through her tears, and that smile was like the rosy morn- 
ing-light playing upon a small stream. "You cannot desert 
me !" she whispered with a confiding assurance, and stroked 
the knight's cheeks with her little soft hands. He was thus in 
some degree withdrawn from those terrible apprehensions, that 
still lay lurking in the recesses of his soul, and were persuading 
him that he had been married to a fairy, or some spiteful and 
mischievous being of the spirit-world ; but, after all, only this 
single question, and that almost unawares, escaped from his 
lips : 

" Dearest Undine, pray tell me this one thing ; what was it 
you meant by ' spirits of the earth' and ' Kiihleborn,' when the 
priest stood knocking at the door ?" 

" Mere fictions ! mere tales of children !" answered Undine, 



43 



UNDINE. 



[chap. VII. 



laughing, now quite restored to her Avonted gaiety. " .( first 
awoke your anxiety with them, and you finally awoke mine. 
This is the end of the story and of our nuptial evening." 

" Nay, not exactly that," replied the enamoured knight, ex- 
tinguishing the tapers, and a thousand times kissing his beauti- 
ful and beloved bride, while, lighted by the moon that shone 
brightly through the windows, he bore her into their bridal 
apartment. 



CHAP. VIll.] 



UNDINE. 



43 



CHAPTER VIII. 

The Day after the Wedding. » 

The fresh light of morning awoke the young married pair. 
Undine bashfully hid her face beneath their covering, and 
Huldbrand lay lost in silent reflection. Whenever during the 
night he had fallen asleep, strange and horrible dreams of 
spectres had disturbed him ; and these shapes, grinning at him 
by stealth, strove to disguise themselves as beautiful females ; 
and from beautiful females they all at once assumed the ap- 
pearance of dragons. And when he started up, aroused by the 
intrusion of these hideous forms, the moonlight shone pale and 
cold before the windows without ; he looked affrighted at Un- 
dine, in whose arms he had fallen asleep, and she was reposing 
m unaltered beauty and sweetness beside him. Then pressing 
her rosy lips with a light kiss, he again fell into a slumber, only 
to be awakened by new terrors. 

When he had now perfectly awoke, and well considered all 
the circumstances of this connection, he reproached himself for 
any doubt, that could lead him into error in regard to his 
lovely wife. He also earnestly begged her to pardon the in- 
justice he had done her, but she only gave him her fair hand, 
heaved a sigh from the depth of her heart, and remained silent. 
Yet a glance of fervent tenderness, an expression of the soul 
beaming in her eyes, such as he had never witnessed there 
before, left him in undoubting assurance, that Undine was in- 
nocent of any evil against him whatever. 

He then rose with a serene mind, and leaving her, went to 
the common apartment, where the inmates of the house had 
already met. The three were sitting round the hearth with an 
air of anxiety about them, as if they feared trusting themselves 
to raise their voice above a low apprehensive undertone. The 



44 



UNDINE. 



[chap. viri. 



priest appeared to be praying in his inmost spirit, with a view- 
to avert some fatal calamity. But when they observed the 
young husband come forth so cheerful, a brighter hope rose 
within them, and dispelled the cloudy traces that remained upon 
their brows ; yes, the old fisherman began to be facetious with 
the knight, but in a manner so perfectly becoming, that his aged 
wife herself could not help smiling with great good humour. 

Undine had in the mean time got ready, and now entered the 
door, when they were all on the point of rushing to meet her, 
and yet all remamed fixed in perfect admiration, so changed 
and at the same time so familiar was the young woman's ap- 
pearance. The priest, with paternal affection beaming from 
his countenance, first went up to her, and as he raised his hand 
to pronounce a blessing, the beautiful bride, trembling with re- 
ligious awe, sunk on her knees before him ; she begged his 
pardon, in terms both respectful and submissive, for any foolish 
things she might have uttered the evening before, and entreated 
him, in a very pathetic tone, to pray for the welfare of her soul. 
She then rose, kissed her foster-parents, and, after thanking them 
for all the kindness they had shown her, said : " O, I now feel 
in my inmost heart, how great, how infinitely great, is what you 
have done for me, you dear, dear friends of my childhood !" 

At first she was wholly unable to tear herself away from their 
affectionate caresses ; but the moment she saw the good old 
mother busy in getting breakfast, she went to the hearth, applied 
herself to cooking the food and putting it on the table, and 
would not suffer her to take the least share in the work. 

She continued in this frame of spirit the whole day ; calm, 
kind, attentive ; — at the same time a little mistress of a family, 
and a tender, modest young woman. The three, who had been 
longest acquainted with her, expected every instant to see her 
capricious spirit break out in some whimsical change or sportive 
vagary. But their fears were quite unnecessary. Undine 
continued as mild and gentle as an angel. The priest found it 
all but impossible to remove his eyes from her, and he often said 
to the bridegroom : 



< 



CHAP. VlIl.J 



UNDINE. 



4t> 



" The bounty of Heaven, Sir, through me its unworthy in- 
strument, entrustea to you last evening an invaluable treasure ; 
regard and cherish it as you ought to do, and it will promote 
your temporal and eternal welfare." 

Toward evening, Undine was hanging upon the knight's arm 
with lowly tenderness, while she drew him gently out before 
the dooE, where the setting sun shone richly over the fresh grass, 
and upon the high, slender boles of the trees. Her emotion was 
visible : the dew oi" sadness and love swam in her eyes, while a 
tender and fearful secret seemed to hover upon her lips; but 
sighs, and those scarcely perceptible, were all that made known 
the wish of her heart. She led her husband further and further 
onward without speaking. When he asked her questions she 
replied only with looks, in which, it is true, there appeared to 
be no immediate answer to his inquiries, but yet a whole heaven 
of love and timid attachment. Thus they reached the margin 
of the swollen forest-stream, and the knight was astonished to see 
it gliding away with so gentle a murmuring of its waves, that no 
vestige of its former swell and wildness was now discernible. 

" By morning it will be wholly drained off," said the beauti- 
ful woman, almost weeping, " and you will then be able to travel, 
without any thing to hinder you, whithersoever you will." 

" Not without you, dear Undine," replied the knight, laugh- 
ing ; " for pray remember, even were I disposed to leave you, 
both the church and the spiritual powers, the emperor and the 
laws of the realm, would require the fugitive to be seized and 
restored to you " 

" AM. this depends on you, — all depends on you ;" whispered 
his little companion, half weeping and half smiling. " But I 
still feel sure, that you will not leave me ; I love you too deeply 
to fear that misery. Now bear me over to that little islan ^, 
\ 'hich lies before us. There shall the decision be made. I 
could easily, indeed, glide through that mere rippling of the 
water without your aid, but it is so grateful to rest in your 
arms ; and should you determine to put me away, I shall have 
svycetly rested in them once more, . . . for the hst time." 



46 



UNDINE. 



[chap. VIII. 



Huldbrand was so full of strange anxiety and emotion, that 
he knew not what answer to make her. He took her in his 
arms and carried her over, now first realizing the fact, that this 
was the same little island, from which he had borne her back 
to the old fisherman, the first night of his arrival. On the 
further side, he placed her upon the soft grass, and was throw- 
ing himself lovingly near his beautiful burden ; but she said to 
him, " Not here, but there, opposite to me. I shaU read my 
doom in your eyes, even before your lips pronounce it ; now 
listen very attentively to what I shall relate to you." And 
she began : 

" You must know, my own love, that there are beings in the 
elements, which bear the strongest resemblance to the human 
race, and which, at the same time, but seldom become visible 
to you. The wonderful salamanders sparkle and sport amid 
the flames ; deep in the earth the meagre and malicious gnomes 
pursue their revels ; the forest-spirits belong to the au', and 
wander in the woods ; while in the seas, rivers, and streams 
live the wide-spread race of water-spirits. These last, beneath 
resounding domes of crystal, through which the sky appears 
with sun and stars, inhabit a region of light and beauty ; lofty 
coral trees glow with blue and crimson fruits in their gardens ; 
they walk over the pure sand of the sea, among infinitely vari- 
egated shells, and amid whatever of beauty the old world pos- 
sessed, such as the present is no more worthy to enjoy ; — crea- 
tions, which the floods covered with their secret veils of silver : 
and now these noble monuments glimmer below* stately and 
solemn, and bedewed by the water wh:\jh loves them, and calls 

* No reader of English poetry need be reminded of Southey's admirable 
description of the submarine City of Baly in his Curse of Kehama : 
" In sunlight and sea-green, 
The thousand palaces were seen 
Of that proud city, whose superb abodes 
Seemed reared by giants for the immortal gods. 
How silent and how beautiful they stand, 
Like tlimgs of ndtuie." 



CHAP. Vlil J 



UNDINE. 



47 



forth from their crevices exquisite moss-fiowers and enwreath- 
ing txifts of sedge. 

" Now the nation that dAvell there, are very fair and lovely 
to behold, for the most part mor-e beautiful than human beings. 
Many a fisherman has been so fortunate, as to catch a view of 
a delicate maiden of the waters, while she was floating and 
singing upon the deep. He then spread to remotest shores the 
fame of her beauty ; and to such wonderful females men are 
wont to give the name of Undines. But what need pf saying 
more ? You, my dear husband, now actually behold an Un- 
dine before you." 

The knight would have persuaded himself, that his lovely 
wife was under the influence of one of her odd whims, and 
that she was only amusing herself and him with her extrava- 
gant inventions. He wished it might be so. But with what- 
ever power of words he said this to himself, he still could not 
credit the hope for a moment ; a strange shivering shot through 
his soul ; unable to utter a word, he gazed upon the sweet 
speaker with a fixed eye. She shook her head in distress, 
heaved a sigh from her full heart, and then proceeded in the 
following manner : 

" In respect to the circumstances of our life, we should be far 
superior to yourselves, who are another race of the human 
family, — for we also call ourselves human beings, as we re- 
semble them in form and features, — had we not one great evil 
peculiar to ourselves. Both we, and the beings I have men- 
tioned as inhabiting the other elements, vanish into air at death, 
and go out of existence, spirit and body, so that no vestige of 
us remains ; and when you hereafter awake to a purer state of 
being, we shall remain where sand, and sparks, and wind, and 
waves remain. We of course have no souls ; the element moves 
us, and, again, is obedient to our will, while we live, though it 
scatters us like dust, when we die ; and as we have nothing to 
trouble us, we are as merry as nightingales, httle goldfishes, and 
other pretty children of nature. 

" But all beings aspire to rise in the scale of existence higher 



48 



UNDINE. 



[chap. Vlll 



than they are. It was therefore the wish of my father, who is 
a powerful water-prince in the Mediterranean Sea, that his only 
daughter should become possessed of a soul, although she 
should have to endure many of the sufferings of those who 
share that gift. 

" Now the race to which I belong, have no other means of 
obtaining a soul, than by forming with an individual of your 
own the most intimate union of love. I am now possessed of 
a soul, and I, the very soul itself, thank you, dear Huldbrand, 
with <x warmth of heart beyond expression, and never shall I 
cease to thank you, unless you render my whole future life 
miserable. For what will become of me, if you avoid and 
reject me ? Still I would not keep you as my own by artifice. 
And should you decide to cast me off, then do it now, . . . leave 
me here, and return to the shore alone. I will plunge into this 
brook, where my uncle will receive me ; my uncle, who here 
in the forest, far removed from his other friends, passes his 
strange and solitary' existence. But he is powerful, as well as 
revered and beloved by many great rivers ; and as he brought 
me hither to our friends of the lake, a light-hearted and laugh- 
ing child, he will also restore me to the home of my parents, a 
woman, gifted with a soul, full of affection, and heir to suffer- 
ing." 

She was about to add something more, when Huldbrand, 
with the most heartfelt tenderness and love, clasped her in his 
arms, and again bore her back to the shore. There, amid tears 
and kisses, he first swore never to forsake his affectionate wife, 
and esteemed himself even more happy than the Grecian sculp- 
tor, Pygmalion, for whom Venus gave life to his beautiful statue, 
and thus changed it into a beloved wife. Supported by his 
arm, and in the sweet confidence of affection. Undine returned 
to the cottage ; and now she first realized with her whole hearl^ 
how little cause she had for regretting what she had left, th« 
crystal palaces of her mysterious father. 



cn\p ix.j 



UNDINE. 



49 



CHAPTER IX. 

How the Knight took his young wife with him. 

Next morning, when Huldbrand awoke from slumber, and per- 
ceived that his beautiful wife was not by his side, he began to 
give way again to his wild imaginations : these represented to 
him his marriage, and even the charming Undine herself, as 
cnly a shadow without substance, a mere illusion of enchant- 
ment. But she entered the door at the same moment, kissed 
him, seated herself on the bed by his side, and said : 

" I h^ve been out somewhat early this morning, to see 
whether my uncle keeps his word. He has already restored 
the waters of the flood to his own calm channel, and he now 
flows through the forest, a rivulet as before, in a lonely and 
dreamlike current. His friends too, both of the water and the 
air, have resumed their usual peaceful tenor ; all in this region 
will again proceed with order and tranquillity ; and you can 
travel homeward without fear of the flood, whenever you 
choose." 

It seemed to the mind of Huldbrand, that he must be wrapt 
in some reverie or waking dream, so little was he able to un- 
derstand the nature of his wife's strange relative. Notwith- 
standing this, he made no remark upon what she had told him, 
and the infinite charm of her beauty, gentleness, and affection 
soon lulled every misgiving to rest. 

Some time afterward, while he was standing with her before 
the door, and surveying the verdant point of land with its boun- 
dary of bright waters, such a feeling of bliss came over him in 
this cradle of his love, that he exclaimed : 

^ Shall we then, so early as to-day, begin our journey 1 
5 



UNDINE. 



TCHAP. W. 



Why should we ? It is probable, that abroad in the world \ve 
shall find no days more delightful, than those we have spent in 
this little green isle, so secret and so secure. Let us remain 
here, and see the sun go down two or three times more." 

" Ju^t as my lord shall command," replied Undine meekly. 
"Only we must remember, that our aged friends ^Yil\, at all 
events, see me depart with pain ; and should they now, for the 
first time, discover the true soul in me, and how fervently I can 
now love and honour them, their feeble eyes would surely be- 
come blind with weeping. As yet, they consider my present 
calm and exemplary conduct as of no better promise than my 
former occasional quietness, — merely t-he calm of the lake — 
just while the air remains tranquil, — and they will soon learn 
to cherish a little tree or flower, as they have cherished me. 
Let me not,then,make known to them this newly bestowed, this 
love-inspired heart, at the very moment they must lose it for this 
world ; and how could I conceal what I have gained, if we 
continued longer together ?" 

Huldbrand yielded to her representation, and went to the 
aged couple to confer with them respecting his journey, on 
which he proposed to set out that very hour. The priest of- 
fered himself as a companion of the young married pair ; and, 
after their taking a short farewell, he held the bridle, while the 
knight lifted his beautiful wife upon his horse ; and with rapid 
step they crossed the dry channel with her toward the forest. 
Undine wept in silent but intense emotion ; the old people, as 
she moved away, were more clamorous in the expression of 
their grief They appeared to feel, at the moment of separa- 
tion, all that they were losing in their affectionate foster- 
daughter. 

The three travellers reached the thickest shades of the forest 
without interchanging a word. It must have been a pic- 
turesque sight, in that hall of leafy verdure, to see this lovely 
woman's form sitting on the noble and richly ornamented steed, 
cji her ri£-bt hand the venerable priest in the white garb of his 
order, on her left the blooming young knight, clad in splendid 



CHAP. IX.] 



UNDINE. 



51 



raiment of scarlet, gold, and violet, girt with a sword that 
flashed in the sun, and attentively walking beside her. HuLi- 
brand had no eyes but for his fair wife ; Undine, who had dried 
her tears of tenderness, had no eyes but for him ; and they 
soon entered into the still and voiceless converse of looks and 
gestures, from which after some time they were awakened by 
the low discourse, which the priest was holding with a fourth 
traveller, who had meanwhile joined them unobserved. 

He wore a white gown, resembling in form the dress of the 
priest's order, except that his hood hung very low over his face, 
and that the whole drapery floated in such wide folds around 
him, as obliged him every moment to gather it up and throw it 
over his arm, or by some management of this sort to get it out 
of his way, and still it did not seem in the least to impede his 
movement. When the young couple became aware of his 
presence, he was saying : 

" And so, venerable Sir, many as have been the years I 
have dwelt here in this forest, I have never received the name 
of hermit in your sense of the word. For, as I said before, I 
know nothing of penance, and I think too, that I have no parti- 
cular need of it. Do you ask me why I am so attached to the 
forest? It is because its scenery is so peculiarly picturesque, 
and affords me so much pastime, when, in my floating white 
garments, I pass through its world of leaves and dusky sha* 
dows ; — and then a sweet sunbeam glances down upon me, at 
times, before I think of it." 

" You are a very singular man," replied the priest, " and J 
should like to have a more intimate acquaintance with you." 

" And who then may you be yourself, to pass from one thing 
to another ?" inquired the stranger. 

" I am called father Heilmann," answered the holy man, 
" and I am from the cloister of our Lady of the Salutation, be- 
yond the lake." 

" Well, well," replied the stranger, " my name is Kuhleboin^ 
and were I a stickler for the nice distinctions of rank, I might 
with equal propriety require you to give me the title of noble 



53 



UNDINE. 



[chap. IX 



lord of Kiihleborn, or free lord of Kiihleborn ;* for I am as free 
as a bird in the forest, and, it may be, a trifle more so. For ex- 
ample, I now have something to tell that young lady there." 
And before they were aware of his purpose, he was on the 
other side of the priest, close to Undine, and stretching himself 
high into the air, in order to whisper something in her ear. 
But she shrunk from him in terror, and exclaimed : 
" I have nothing more to do with you." 

" Ho, ho," cried the stranger, with a laugh, " you have made 
a grand marriage indeed, since you no longer know your own 
relations! Have you no recollection of your uncle Kiihle- 
born, who so faithfully bore you on his back to this region ?" 

" However that may be," replied Undine, " I entreat you 
never to appear in my presence again. I am now afraid of 
you ; and will not my husband fear and forsake me, if he sees 
me associate with such strange company and kindred ?" 

" You must not forget, my little niece," said Kiihleborn, 
" that I am with you here as a guide ; otherwise those madcap 
spirits of the earth, the gnomes that haunt this forest, would 
play you some of their mischievous pranks. Let me therefore 
still accompany you in peace ; even the old priest there had a 
better recollection of me, than you appear to have ; for he just 
now assured me, that I seemed to be very familiar to him, and 
that I must have been with him in the ferry-boat, out of which 
he tumbled into the waves. He certainly did see me there, for 
I was no other than the water-spout that tore him out of it, and 
kept him from sinking, while I safely wafted him ashore to 
your wedding." 

Undine and the knight turned their eyes upon father Heil- 
mann ; but he appeared to be moving forward, just as if he 
were dreaming or walking in his sleep, and no longer to be 
conscious of a word that was spoken. Undine then said to 
Kiihleborn : " I already see yonder the end of the forest. We 

* '* Freiherr," baron. There is something peculiarly whimsical in ih\a 
quiet humour of ' lord or baron Kiihleborn.' 



CHAP. IX.J UNDINE. ft3 

have no further need of your assistance, and nothing now gives 
us alarm but yourself I therefore beseech you by our mu- 
tual love and good will, to vanish and allow us to proceed in 
peace." 

Kiihleborn seemed to be transported with fury at this : he 
darted a frightful look at Undine, and grinned fiercely upon 
her. She shrieked aloud, and called her husband to protect 
her. The knight sprung round the horse as quick as lightning, 
and, brandishing his sword, struck at Kiihleborn's head. But, 
instead of severing it from his body, the sword merely flashed 
through a torrent, which rushed foam.ing near them from a 
lofty cliff ; and with a splash, which much resembled in sound 
a burst of laughter, the stream all at once poured upon them, 
and gave them a thorough wetting. The priest, as if suddenly 
awaking from a trance, coolly observed : " This is what I 
have been some time expecting, because the brook has descended 
from the steep so close beside us, — though at first sight, indeed, 
it appeared to look just like a man, and to possess the power of 
speech." 

As the waterfall came rushing from its crag, it distinctly ut- 
tered these words in Huldbrand's ear : " Rash knight ! valiant 
knight ! I am not angry with you ; I have no quarrel with you ; 
only continue to defend your charming little wife with the same 
spirit, you bold knight ! you rash blade !" 

After advancing a few steps further, the travellers came out 
upon open ground. The imperial city lay bright before them ; 
and the evening sun, which gilded its towers with gold, kindly 
dried their garments that had been so completely Jrenched. 



54 



UNDINE. 



fCHAP. X. 



CHAPTER X. 

How they lived in the city. 

The sudden disappearance of the young knight, Huldbrand 
of Ringstetten, had occasioned much remark in the imperial 
city, and no small concern among those of the people, who, as 
well on account of his expertness in tourney and dance as of 
his mild and amiable manners, had become greatly attached to 
him. His attendants were unwilling to quit the place without 
their master, although not a soul of them had been courageous 
enough to follow him into the fearful recesses of the forest. 
They remained therefore at their public house, idly hoping, as 
men are wont to do, and, by the expression of their fears, keep- 
ing the fate of their lost lord fresh in remembrance. 

Now when the violent storms and floods had been observed, 
immediately after his departure, the destruction of the hand- 
some stranger became all but certain : even Bertalda had quite 
openly discovered her sorrow, and detested herself for having 
induced him to take that fatal excursion into the forest. Her 
foster-parents, the duke and dutchess, had meanwhile come to 
take her away, but Bertalda persuaded them to remain with 
her until some certain news of Huldbrand should be obtained, 
whether he were living or dead. She endeavored also to pre- 
vail upon several young knights, who were assiduous in courting 
her favour, to go in quest of the noble adventurer in the forest. 
But she refused to pledge her hand as the reward of the enter 
prise, because she still cherished, it might be, a hope of being 
claimed by the returning knight; and no one would consent, 
for a glove, a ribband, or even a kiss, to expose his life to bring 
back so very dangerous a rival. 

When Huldbrand now made his sudden and unexpected ap- 



CHAP. X.] 



UNDINE. 



55 



pearance, his attendants, the inhabitants of the city, and almosi 
every one rejoiced : we must acknowledge, indeed, that this 
was not the case with Bertalda ; for although it might be quite 
a welcome event to others, that he brought with him a wife of 
such exquisite loveliness, and father Heilmann as a witness of 
their marriage, Bertalda could not but view the affair with 
grief and vexation. She had in truth become attached to the 
young knight with her whole soul, and then her mourning for his 
absence, or supposed death, had shown this more than she could 
now have wished. 

But notwithstanding all this, she conducted herself like a 
prudent woman in circumstances of such delicacy, and lived 
on the most friendly terms with Undine, whom the whole city 
looked upon as a princess, that Huldbrand had rescued in the 
forest from some evil enchantment. Whenever any one ques- 
tioned either herself or her husband relative to surmises of this 
nature, they had wisdom enough to remain silent, or wit 
enough to evade the inquiries. The lips of father Heilmann 
had been sealed in regard to idle gossip of every kind ; and 
besides, on Huldbrand's arrival, he had immediately returned 
to his cloister : so that people were obliged to rest contented 
with their own wild conjectures, and even Bertalda herself as- 
certained nothing more of the truth than others. 

For the rest, Undine daily regarded this fair girl with in- 
creasing fondness. " We must have been heretofore acquainted 
with each other," she often used to say to her, " or else there 
must be some mysterious connection between us ; for it is 
mcredible that any one so perfectly without cause, — I mean 
without some deep and secret cause, — should be so fondly at- 
tached to another, as I have been to you from the first moment 
of our meeting." 

Even Bertalda could not deny, that she felt a confiding im- 
pulse, an attraction of tenderness, toward Undine, much as she 
deemed this fortunate rival the cause of her bitterest disap- 
pointment. Under the influence of this mutual regard, they 
found means to persuade, the one her foster-parents, and the 



5G 



UNDINE. 



[chap. X. 



other her husband, to defer the day of separation to a period 
more and more remote ; nay more, they had already begun to 
talk of a plan for Bertalda's sometime accompanying- Undine 
to Castle Ringstetten, near one of the sources of the Danube. 

Once on a fine evening, while they were promenading the 
city by starlight, they happened to be talking over their scheme 
just as they passed the high trees, that bordered the public 
walk. The young married pair, though it was somewhat late, 
had called upon Bertalda to invite her to share their enjoy- 
ment ; and all three now proceeded familiarly up and down be- 
neath the dark-blue heaven, not seldom interrupted in their con- 
verse by the admiration, which they could not but bestow upon 
the magnificent fountain in the middle of the square, and upon 
the wonderful rush and shooting upward of its water. All was 
sweet and soothing to their minds ; among the shadows of the 
trees stole in glimmerings of light from the adjacent houses ; 
a low murmur as of children at play, and of other persons who 
were enjoying their walk, floated around them ; they were so 
alone, and yet sharing so much of social happiness in the bright 
and stirring world, that whatever had appeared diflicult by day, 
now became smooth and easy of its own accord, and the three 
friends could no longer see the slightest cause for hesitation in 
regard to Bertalda's taking the journey. 

At that instant, just as they were fixing the day of their de- 
parture, a tall man approached them from the middle of the 
square, bowed respectfully to the company, and spoke some- 
thing in the young bride's ear. Though displeased with the 
interruption and its cause, she walked aside a few steps with 
the stranger, and both began to whisper, as it seemed, in a 
foreign tongue. Huldbrand thought he recognized the strange 
man of the forest ; and he gazed upon him so fixedly, that he 
neither heard nor answered the astonished inquiries of Bertal- 
da. All at once Undine clapped her hands with delight, and 
turned back from the stranger, laughing : he, frequently shak- 
ing his head, retired with a hasty step and discontented air, 
£.nd descended into the fountain. Huldbrand now felt perfectly 



CHAP. X.] 



UNDINE. 



57 



certain, that his conjecture was correct. But Bertalda asked : 
" And what, my dear Undine, did the master of the fountain 
wish to say to you ?" 

The young wife laughed within herself, and made answer : 
" The day after to-morrow, my dear child, when the anniver- 
sary of your name-day* returns, you shall be informed." And 
this was all she could be prevailed upon to disclose. She 
merely asked Bertalda to dinner on the appointed day, and re- 
quested her to invite her foster-parents; and soon afterward 
they separated. 

" Kiihleborn said Huldbrand to his lovely wife with an 
inward shudder, when they had taken leave of Bertalda, and 
were now going home through the darkening streets. 

" Yes, it was he," answered Undine, " and he would have 
wearied me with foolish warnings without end. But in the 
midst of them, quite contrary to his intention, he delighted me 
with a most welcome piece of news. If you, my dear lord and 
husband, wish me to acquaint you with it now, you need only 
command me, and I will freely, and from my heart, tell you all 
without reserve. But would you confer upon your Undine a 
very, very great pleasure, only wait till the day after to-mor- 
row, and then you too shall have your share of the surprise." 

The knight was quite willing to gratify his wife, in regard 
to what she had asked with so beautiful a spirit ; and this spirit 
she discovered yet more, for while she was that night falling 
asleep, she murmured to herself with a smile : ^' How she will 
rejoice and be astonished at what her master of the fountain 
has told me, — the dear, happy Bertalda !" 

* Or saint's day. A literary friend, from whose kindness I have derived 
:he best aid in revising and correcting my version, informs me, that this 
term " refers to a German custom of celebrating, not only the birth-day, but 
also the name-day, that is, the day which in the almanac bears the person's 
Christian name. The old almanacs contained a name for each day in the 
year, being either the name of a saint, or some other remarkable personage 
in history." 



58 



Ui^DINE. 



[CIIAP. XI 



CHAPTER XL 

Festival of Bertalda's name-day. 

The company were sitting at dinner ; Bertalda, adorned with 
jewels and flowers without number, the presents of her foster- 
parents, and friends, and looking like some goddess of Spring, 
sat beside Undine and Huldbrand at the head of the table. 
When the sumptuous repast was ended, and the dessert was 
placed before them, permission was given that the doors should 
be left open : this was in accordance with the good old custom 
in Germany, that the common people might see and rejoice in 
the festivity of their superiors. Among these spectators the 
servants carried round cake and wine. 

Huldbrand and Bertalda waited with secret impatience for 
the promised explanation, and never, except when they could 
not well help it, moved their eyes from Undine. But she still con- 
tinued silent, and merely smiled to herself with secret and heart- 
felt satisfaction. All who were made acquainted with the pro- 
mise she had given, could perceive that she was every moment 
on the point of revealing a happy secret ; and yet, as children 
sometimes delay tasting their choicest dainties, she still with- 
lield the communication, with a denial that made it the more 
desired. Bertalda and Huldbrand shared the same delightful 
feeling, while in anxious hope they were expecting the un- 
known disclosure, which they were to receive from the lips of 
their friend. 

At this moment, several of the company pressed Undine to 
give them a song. This appeared to her to be quite a well- 
timed request, and, immediately ordering her lute to be brought, 
she sung the following words : 



UNDINE. 



*' Morning so bright,* 
Wild-flowers so gay, 
Where high grass so dewy 
Crowns the wavy lake's border. 

"On the meadow's verdant bosom, 
What glimmers there so wliite? 
Have wreaths of snowy blossoms, 
Soft-floating, fallen from heaven? 

" Ah, see ! a tender infant ! — 
It plays with flowers, unwitting ; 
It strives to grasp morn's golden beams. — 
O where, sweet stranger, where's your home / 
Afar from unknown shores, 
The waves have wafted hither 
This helpless little one. 

*< Nay, clasp not, tender darling, 
With tiny hand the flowers ; 
No hand returns the pressure. 
The flowers are strange and mute. 
They clothe themselves in beauty, 
They breathe a rich perfume, 

« In reading some of the verses of Fouque, wc cannot but remember the 
question of Hamlet to the player, — ' Is this a prologue, or the posy of a 
ring V As one example, among many, we may take the original of nis 
miniature picture here : 

" Morgen so hell, 
Blumen so bunt, 
Graser so duftig und hoch 
An wallenden See's Gestadc." 
These four liitie lines, descriptive of the scene of Undine's song, simple as 
they are, cost me more trouble in trying to mould them into a fit English 
fonn, than I well like to acknowledge. I made several attempts, without 
much success, to translate them to my mind. Among these versions, the 
following had the merit of not being the worst : 

* The morning beams in glory. 
Where wild-flowers gaily bloom 
Where dewy grass is waving 
The lake's fresh marge along ;* 
but after all, the more verbal rendering, as it now stands, seemed to be pre- 
ferable. 



fiO UNDINK , [chap. XI 

But cannot fold around you 
A mother's loving arras ; — 
Far, fax away that mother's fond embrace. 

*' Life's early dawn just opening faint, 
Your eye yet beaming Heaven's own smile. 
So soon your first, best guardians gone ; — 
Severe, poor child, your fate, — 
All, all to you unknown. 

** A noble duke has cross'd the mead. 
And near you check'd his steed's career ; 
Wonder and pity touch his heart ; 
With knowledge high and manners pure 
He rears you, — makes his castle home youi" own. 

" How great, how infinite, your gain ! 
Of all the land you bloom the loveliest, 
Yet, ah ! that first, best blessing. 
The bliss of parents' fondness, 
You left on strands unknown." 

Undine let fall her lute and paused with a melancholy smile ; 
the eyes of Bertalda's noble foster-parents were filled with tears. 

" Ah yes, it was so, — such was the morning on which I found 
yoUj poor orphan." cried the duke with deep emotion; "the 
beautiful singer is certainly right ; still 

' That first, best blessing. 
The bliss of parents' fondness,' 

it was beyond our power to give you.'' — 

" But we must hear also, what happened to the poor parents/' 
said Undine, as she struck the chords, and sung : 

" Through her chambers roams the mother, 
Searching, searching everywhere ; 
Seeks, and knows not what, with yearning, 
Childless home still finding there. 

" Childless home ! — O sound of anguish 
She alone the anguish knows. 
There by day who led her dear one, 
There who rock'd its night repose. 



OHAP. XI.] 



UNDINE. 



«1 



" Bccchen buds again are swelling.* 
Sunshine warms again the shore, 
Ah, fond mother, cease your searching, 
Comes the loved and lost no more. 

" Then when airs of eve are fresh'ning, 
Home the father wends his way. 
While with smiles his woe he's veiling, 
Gushing tears his heart betray. 

" Well he knows, within his dwelling, 
Still as death he'll find the gloom. 
Only hear the mother moaning, — 
No sweet babe to smile him h9me." 

" O tell me, in the name of Heaven tell me, Undine, where 
are my parents ?" cried the weeping Bertalda, " You cer- 
tainly know ; you must have discovered them, all wonderhil as 
you are, for otherwise you would never have thus torn my 
heart. Can they he already here ? May I helieve it possible ?" 
Her eye glanced rapidly over the brilliant company, and rested 
upon a lady of high rank, who was sitting next to her foster- 
father. 

Then, inclining her head, Undme beckoned toward the door, 
while her eyes overflowed with the swestest emotion. " Where 
are the poor parents waiting ?" she asked ; and the old fisher- 
man, diffident and hesitating, advanced with his wife from the 
crowd of spectators. Swift as the rush of hope within them, 
they threw a look of inquiry, now at Undine, and now at the 
beautiftsil lady, who was said to be their daughter. 

" It is she ! it is she there, before you 1" exclaimed the re- 
storer of their child, her voice half choked with rapture ; and 
both the aged parents embraced their recovered daughter, weep- 
ing aloud and praising God. 

But, shocked and indignant, Bertalda tore herself from their 
arms. Such a discovery was too much for her proud spirit to 

* For the epithet ' swelling,' I should prefer to read ' greening,' as 
*gninen' is the more picturesque expression of the original, had I found 
any authority to justify me in its use. 



63 



UNDINE. 



[chap. 



bear, — especially at the moment when she had doubtless expect- 
ed to see her former splendour increased, and when hope was 
picturing to her nothing less brilliant than a royal canopy and a 
crown. It seemed to her as if her rival had contrived all this, 
ind with the special view to humble her before Huldbrand and 
Che whole world. She reproached Undine ; she reviled the old 
people ; and even such offensive words as " deceiver, bribed and 
perjured imposters," burst from her lips. 

The aged wife of the fisherman then said to herself, but in 
a very low voice : " Ah, my God ! what a wicked vixen of a 
woman she has grown i and yet I feel in my heart, that she is 
my child." 

The old fisherman, however, had meanwhile folded his 
hands, and offered up a silent prayer, that she might not be his 
daughter. 

Undine, faint and pale as death, turned from the parents to 
Bertalda, from Bertalda to the parents ; she was suddenly cast 
down from all that heaven of happiness, of which she had been 
dreaming, and plunged into an agony of terror and disappoint- 
ment, which she had never known even in dreams. 

" Have you a soul ? Can you really have a soul, Bertalda ?" 
she cried again and again to her angry friend, as if with vehe- 
ment effort she would rouse her from a sudden delirium or some 
distracting dream, and restore her to recollection. 

But when Bertalda became every moment only more and 
more eiuraged, as the disappointed parents began to weep aloud, 
and the company with much warmth of dispute, were espous- 
ing opposite sides, she begged with such earnestness and dignity, 
for the liberty of speaking in this her husband's dining-hall, 
that all around her were in an instant hushed to silence. She 
then advanced to the upper end of the table, where, both hum- 
bled and haughty, Bertalda had seated herself, and, while every 
eye was fastened upon her, spoke in the following manner : 

" My friends, you appear dissatisfied and disturbed ; and you 
are interrupting with your strife a festivity, that I had hoped 
would bring joy both to you and myself. Ah, my God ! f 



CHAP. XI.] 



UNDINE. 



63 



knew nothing of these your heartless maxims, these your un- 
natura' ways of thinking, and never so long as I livSj I fear, 
shall I become reconciled to them. The disclosure J have 
made, it seems, is unwelcome to you ; but I am not to bkme 
lor such a result. Believe me, little as you may imagine thia 
to be the case, it is wholly owing to yourselves. One word 
more, therefore, is all I have to add, but this is one that must 
be spoken : — 1 have uttered nothing but truth. Of the certainty 
of the fact I give you the strongest assurance ; no other proof 
can I or will I produce ; but this I will affirm in the presence 
of God. The person who gave me this information, was the 
very same who decoyed the infant Bertalda into the water, and 
who, after thus taking her from her parents, placed her on the 
green grass of the meadow, where he knew the duke was to 
pass." 

" She is an enchantress," cried Bertalda, " a witch, that has 
intercourse with evil spirits. This she acknowledges herself." 

" Never ! I deny it," replied Undine, while a whole heaven 
of innocence and truth beamed from her eyes. " I am no 
witch ; look upon me, and say if I am." 

" Then she utters both falsehood and folly," cried Bertalda, 
" and she is unable to prove that I am the child of these low 
people. My noble parents, I entreat you to take me from this 
company, and out of this city, w^here they do nothing but ex- 
pose me to shame." 

But the aged duke, a man of honourable feeling, remained 
unmoved, and his lady remarked : " We must thoroughly ex- 
amine into this matter. God forbid, that we should move a step 
from this hall, before we do so." 

Encouraged by this kind w^ord, the aged wife of the fisher- 
man drew near, made a low obeisance to the dutchess, and said : 
" Exalted and pious lady, you have opened my heart. Permit 
rne to tell you, that if this evil-disposed maiden is my daughter, 
she has a mark, like a violet, between her shoulders, and another 
of the same kind on the instep of her left foot. If she w^ill only 
consent to go out of the hall with me " 



64 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XI 



" I will not consent to uncover myself before the peasant 
woman," interrupted Bertalda, haughtily turning her back upon 
her. 

" But before me you certainly willj" replied the dutchess, 
gravely. " You \\dll follow me into that room, young v/oman, 
and the worthy old lady shall go with us," 

The three disappeared, and the rest continued where they 
were, in the hush of breathless expectation. In a few minutes 
the females returned, Bertalda pale as death, and the dutchess 
said : " Justice must be done ; I therefore declare, that our lady 
hostess has spoken the exact truth. Bertalda is the fisherman's 
daughter ; no further proof is required ; and this is all, of which 
on the present occasion you need to^e informed." 

The princely pair went out with their adopted daughter ; the 
fisherman, at a sign from the duke, followed them with his wife. 
The other guests retired in silence, or but half suppressing their 
murmurs, while Undine, weeping as if her heart would break, 
8unk into the. arms of Huldbrand. 



CHAP, iii.l UNDINE. 6S 



CHAPTER XII. 

How they departed from the city. 

The lord of Ringstetten would certainly have been more grati- 
fied, had the events of this day been different ; but even such 
as they now were, he could by no means look upon them as 
unwelcome, since his fair wife had discovered so much natural 
feeling, kindness of spirit, and cordial affection. 

" If I have given her a soul," he could not help saying to 
himself, " I have assuredly given her a better one than my 
own ;" and now what chiefly occupied his mind, was to soothe 
and comfort his weeping wife, and even so early as the morrow 
to remove her from a place, which, after this cross accident, 
could not fail to be distasteful to her. Yet it is certain, that 
the opinion of the public concerning her was not changed. As 
something extraordinary had long before been expected of her, 
the mysterious discovery of Bertalda's parentage had occasioned 
little or no surprise ; and every one who became acquainted 
with Bertalda's story, and with the violence of her behaviour 
on that occasion, was only disgusted and set against her. Of 
this state of things, however, the knight and his lady were as 
yet ignorant ; besides, whether the public condemned Bertalda 
or herself, the one view of the affair would have been as dis- 
tressing to Undine as the other ; and thus they came to the 
conclusion, that the wisest course they could take, was to 
leave behind them the walls of the old city with all the speed 
in their power. 

With the earliest beams of morning, a brilliant carriage, 
for Undine, drove up to the door of the inn ; the horses»of 
Huldbrandand his attendants stood near stamping the pave- 
ment, impatient to proceed. The knight was leading hia 
6 



UNDINE. 



(CHAF. Xii. 



beautiful wife from the door, when a fisher-girl came up and 
met them in the way. 

" We have no occasion for your fish," said Huldbrand, ac- 
costing her, " we are this moment setting out on a journey." 

Upon this the fisher-girl began to weep bitterly, and then it 
was that the young couple first knew her to be Bertalda. They 
immediately returned with her to their apartment, where she 
informed them, that, owing to her unfeeling and violent conduct 
of the preceding day, the duke and dutchess had been so dis- 
pleased with her, as entirely to withdraw from her their protec- 
tion, though not before giving her a generous portion. The 
fisherman, too, had received a handsome gift, and had, the 
evening before, set out with his wife for theu' peninsula. 

" I would have gone with them," she pursued, " but the old 
fisherman, who is said to be my father," 

" He certainly is your father, Bertalda," said Undine, inter- 
rupting her. " Pray consider what I tell you : the stranger, 
whom you took for the master of the water- works, gave me all 
the particulars. He wished to dissuade me from taking you 
with me to Castle Ringstetten, and therefore disclosed to me the 
whole mystery." 

" Well then," continued Bertalda, " my father, — if it must 
needs be so, — my father said : ' I will not take you with me, 
until you are changed. If you will leave your home here in 
the city, and venture to come to us alone through the ill-omened 
forest, that shall be a proof of your having some regard for us. 
But come not to me as a lady ; come merely as a fisher-girl.' 
• — I -will do, therefore, just what he commanded me ; for since 
I am abandoned by all the word, I will live and die in solitude, 
a poor fi^her-girl with parents equally poor. The forest, in- 
deed, appears very terrible to me. Horrible spectres make it 
thei'r haunt, and I am so timorous. But how can I help it ? — 
I have only come here at this early hour, to beg the noble lady 
of Ringstetten to pardon my unbecoming behaviour of yes- 
terday. Dear madam, I have the fullest persuasion, that you 
meant to do me a kindness, but you were not aware, how 



CHAP. XII. 



UNDINE. 



67 



severely you would wound and injure me ; and this was 
the reason, that, in my agony and surprise, so many rash and 
frantic expressions burst from my lips. — Forgive me, ah for- 
give me ! I am in truth so unhappy already. Do but con- 
sider what I was only yesterday morning, what I was even at 
the beginning of your yesterday's festival, and what I am at 
the present moment !" — 

Her words now became inarticulate, lost in a passionate flow 
of tears, while Undine, bitterly weeping with her, fell upon her 
neck. So powerful was her emotion, that it was a long time 
before she could utter a word. But at length she said : 

" You shall still go with us to Ringstetten ; all shall remain 
just as we lately arranged it ; only, in speaking to me, pray 
continue to use the familiar and affectionate terms,* that we 
have been wont to use, and do not pain me with the sound of 
* madam' and ' noble lady,' any more. Consider, we were 
changed for each other, when we were children ; even then we 
were united by a like fate, and we will strengthen this union 
with such close affection, as no human powder shall dissolve. 
Only first of all you must go with us to Ringstetten. In what 
manner we shall share our sisterly enjoyments there, we will 
leave to be talked over after we arrive." 

Bertalda looked up to Huldbrand with timid inquiry. He 
pitied the fair girl in her affliction, took her hand, and begged 
her, tenderly, to entrust herself to him and his wife. 

" We will send a message to your parents," continued he, 
" giving them the reason why you have not come ; — and he 
would have added much more about his worthy friends of the 
peninsula, when, perceiving that Bertalda shrunk in distress at 

* The words of the original are, " nur nenne mich wieder Du," " only do 
call me thou again." The use of the personal pronouns, thou and thee, so 
familiar and endearing in the German idiom, gives an entirely different im- 
pression in English. In the conversations of this tale, examples of this 
peculiarity occur on almost every page. The translator has of course 
avoided a mode of expression, which most of his readers would feel to bo 
BtifF, strange, and unsuitable. 



68 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XII. 



the mention of them, he refrained. Then taking her under the 
arm, as they left the room, he lifted her first into the carriage, 
after her Undine, and was soon riding blithely beside them ; so 
persevering was he, too, in urging forward their driver, that in 
a short time they had left behind them the limits of the city, 
and Avith these a crowd of painful recollections; and now 
the ladies experienced a satisfaction, more and more exquisite, 
as their carriage rolled on through the picturesque scenes, 
which their progress was continually presenting. 

After a journey of some days, they arrived, on a fine even- 
ing, at Castle Ringstetten. The young knight being much en- 
gaged with the overseers and menials of his establishment, Un- 
dine and Bertalda were left alone. Eager for novelty, they 
took a walk upon the high rampart of the fortress, and were 
charmed with the delightful landscape, which fertile Suabia 
spread around them. While they were viewing the scene, a 
tall man drew near, who greeted them with respectful civility, 
and who seemed to Bertalda much to resemble the director of 
the city fountain. Still less was the resemblance to be mis- 
taken, when Undine, indignant at his intrusion, waved him off 
with an air of menace; while he, shaking his head, retreated 
with rapid strides, as he had formerly done, then glided among 
the trees of a neighbouring grove, and disappeared. 

" Do not be terrified, dear Bertalda," said Undine ; " the 
hateful master of the fountain shall do you no harm this time." 
And then she related to her the particulars of her history, and 
who she was herself, — how Bertalda had been taken away from 
the people of the peninsula, and Undine left in her place. This 
relation, at first, filled the young maiden with amazement and 
alarm ; she imagined her friend must be seized with a sudden 
madness. But, from the consistency of her story, she became 
more and more convinced that all was true, it so well agreed 
with former occurrences, and still more convinced from that 
inward feeling, with which truth never fails to make itself 
known to us. She could not but view it as an extraordinary 
circumstance, that she was herself now livixiig, as it were, in 



CH.4P. XII.] 



UNDINE. 



69 



the midst of one of those wild fictions of romance, which she 
had formerly heard related for mere amusement. She gazed 
upon Undine with awe, but could not avoid feeling a shudder, 
which seemed to separate her from her friend ; and she could 
not but wonder when the knight, at their evening repast, show- 
ed himself so kind and full of love toward a being, who ap- 
peared, after the discoveries just made, more like a phantom of 
the spirit-world than one of the human race. 



70 



UNDINE. 



[CUAP. XIII. 



CHAPTER XIIL 

How they lived at Castle Ringstectcn. 

The writer of this history, because it moves his own heart, and 
he wishes it may equally move the hearts of others, begs you, 
dear reader, to grant him a single favour. Excuse him, if he 
now passes over a considerable period of time, and gives you 
only a general account of its events. He is well aware, that, 
perfectly conforming to the rules of art and step by step, he might 
delineate the process by which Huldbrand's warmth of at- 
tachment for Undine began to decline, and to be transferred to 
Bertalda ; how Bertalda gradually became more and more at- 
tached, and met the young man's glance with the glow of love ; 
how they both seemed rather to fear the poor wife, as a being 
of another species, than to sympathize with her ; how Undine 
wept, and her tears produced remorse in the knight's heart, yet 
without awakening his former tenderness, so that his treatment 
of her would discover occasional impulses of kindness, but a 
cold shuddering would soon drive him from her side, and he 
would hasten to the society of Bertalda, as a more congenial 
being of his own race ; — all this, the writer is aware, he could 
describe with the minute touches of truth, and perhaps this is 
the course that he ought to pursue. But his heart would feel 
the task to be too melancholy ; for, having suffered calamities 
of this nature, he is impressed with terror even at the remem- 
brance of their shadows. 

You have probably experienced a similar feeling yourself, 
my dear reader, for such is the inevitable allotment of mortal 
man. Happy are you, if you have rather endured than in- 
flicted this misery, since, in matters of this kind, more blessed 
IS he that receives than he that gives. For when yon have 



CHAP. XIII.] 



UNDINE. 



71 



been the suffering party, and such remembrances come over 
the mind, only a soft pcnsiveness steals into the soul, and per- 
haps a tender tear trickles down your cheek, while you regret 
the fading of the flowers, in which you once took a delight 
so exquisite. But of this no more ; we would not linger over 
the evil, and pierce our hearts with pangs a thousand-fold re- 
peated, but just briefly hint the course of events, as I said 
before. 

Poor Undine was extremely distressed, and the other two 
were far from being happy ; Bertalda in particular, whenever 
she was in the slightest degree opposed in her wishes, attributed 
the cause to the jealousy and oppression of the injured wife. 
In consequence of this suspicious temper, she was daily in the 
habit of discovering a haughty and imperious demeanour, to 
which Undine submitted in sad and painful self-denial ; and, 
such was the blind delusion of Huldbrand, he usually supported 
the impropriety in the most decisive terms. 

What disturbed the inmates of the castle still more, was the 
endless variety of wonderful apparitions, which assailed Huld- 
brand and Bertalda in the vaulted passages of the building, and 
of which nothing had ever been heard before within the me- 
mory of man. The tall white man, in whom Huldbrand but 
too well recognized Undine's uncle Kiihleborn, and Bertalda 
the spectral master of the water-works, often passed before them 
with threatening aspect and gestures ; more especially, how- 
ever, before Bertalda, so that she had already several times 
fainted or fallen ill through terror, and had in consequence fre- 
quently thought of quitting the castle. But partly owing to 
her excessive fondness for Huldbrand, as well as to a reliance 
on what she termed her innocence, since no declaration of mu- 
tual attachment had ever been distinctly made, and partly also 
because she knew not whither to direct her steps, she lingered 
where she was. 

The old fisherman, on receiving the message from the lord 
of Ringstetten, that Bertalda was his guest, returned answer in 
some lines almost too illegible to be deciphered, but still the 



72 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XllL 



best his advanced life and long disuse of writing permitted him 
to form. 

" I have now become," he wrote, " a poor old widower, for 
my beloved and faithful wife is dead. But lonely as I now sit 
in my cottage, I prefer Bertalda's remaining where she is, to 
her living with me. Only let her do nothing to hurt my dear 
Undine, — otherwise she will have my curse." 

The last words of this letter Bertalda flung to the winds ; 
but the permission to remain from home, which her father had 
granted her, she remembered and clung to, just as we are all 
of us wont to do in like circumstances. 

One day, a few moments after Huldbrand had ridden out, 
Undine called together the domestics of the family, and ordered 
them to bring a large stone, and carefully to cover with it a 
magnificent fountain, that was situated in the middle of the 
castle court. The servants ventured to hint as an objection, 
that it would oblige them to bring their water from the valley 
below, which was at an inconvenient distance. Undine smiled 
with an expression of melancholy. 

" I am sorry, dear children," replied she, " to increase your 
labour; I would rather bring up the water-vessels myself; 
but this fountain must indeed be closed. Believe me when I 
say, that it must be done, and that only by doing it can we 
avoid a greater evil." 

The domestics were all rejoiced to gratify their gentle mis- 
tress ; and making no further inquiry, they seized the enor- 
mous stone. While they were raising it in their hands, and 
were now on the point of adjusting it over the fountain, Bertal- 
da came running to the place, and cried with an air of com- 
mand, that they must stop ; that the water she used, so im- 
proving to her complexion, she was wont to have brought 
from this fountain, and that she would by no means allow it to 
be closed. 

This time, however, while Undine showed her usual gentle- 
ness, she showed more than her usual resolution, and remain- 
ed firm to her purpose : she said it belonged to her, as mistress 



CHAP. XIIl ] 



UNDINE. 



73 



of the castle^ to direct the regulations of the household accord- 
ing to her own best judgment, and that she was accountable in 
this to no one but her lord and husband. 

"See, O pray, see!" exclaimed the dissatisfied and indignant 
Bertalda, "how the beautiful water is curling and curving, 
v/inding and waving there, as if disturbed at being shut out 
from the bright sunshine, and from the cheerful view of the 
human countenance, for whose mirror it was created." 

In truth, the water ( f the fountain was agitated, ar^d foaming, 
and nissing in a surprising manner ; it seemed as if there were 
something within, possessing life and will, that was struggling 
to free itself from confinement. But Undine only the more 
earnestly urged on the accomplishment of her commands. This 
earnestness was scarcely required. The servants of the castle 
were as happy in obeying their sweet-tempered lady, as in op- 
posing the haughty spirit of Bertalda ; and with whatever rude- 
ness the latter might scold and threaten, still the stone was in a 
few minutes lying firm over the opening of the fountain, Un 
dine leaned thoughtfully over it, and wrote with her beautiful 
fingers on the flat surface. She must, however, have had some- 
thing very acrid and corrosive in her hand ; for when she 
retired, and the domestics went up to examine the stone, they 
discovered various strange characters upon it, which none of 
them had seen there before. 

When the knight returned home toward evening, Bertalda 
received him with tears and complaints of Undine's conduct. 
He threw a severe look at his poor wife, and she cast down her 
eyes in distress. Still she spoke with great firmness : " My lord 
and husband, you never reprove even a bond-slave, before you 
hear his defence, — how much less then your wedded wife !" 

" Speak, what moved you to this singular conduct ?" said the 
knight, with a gloomy countenance. 

" I could wish to tell you, when we are entirely alone," said 
Undine, with a sigh. 

" You can tell me equally well in the presence of Bertalda," 
he replied. 



74 



UNDINE. 



[chap, xih 



" Yes, if you command me," said Undine, " but do not com- 
mand me. Pray, pray, do not !" 

She looked so humble, affectionate, and obedient, that the 
heart of the knight was touched and softened, as if he felt the 
influence of a ray from better times. He kindly took her arm 
within his, and led her to his apartment, where she spoke as 
follows : 

" You already know something, my beloved krd, of Kiihle- 
born, my evil-disposed uncle, and have often felt displeasure at 
meeting him in the passages of this castle. Several times has 
he terrified Bertalda even to swooning. He does this, because 
he possesses no soul, being a mere elementary mirror of the 
outward world, while of the world within he can give no reflec- 
tion. Then, too, he sometimes observes, that you are displensed 
with me, that in my childish weakness 1 weep at this, and that 
Bertalda, it may be, is laughing at the same moment. Hence 
it is, that he conceives every sort of wrong and unkindness to 
exist, and in various ways mixes with our circle unbidden. 
What do I gain by reproving him ? by showing displeasure, 
and sending him away ? He does not believe a word I say. 
His poor imperfect nature affords him no conception, that the 
pains and pleasures of love have so mysterious a resemblance 
and are so intimately connected, that no power on earth is able 
to separate them. Even in the midst of tears, a smile is dawn- 
ing on the cheek, and smiles call forth tears from their secret 
recesses." 

She looked up at Huldbrand, smiling and weeping; and he 
again felt within his heart all the magic of his former love. 
rShe perceived it, and pressed him more tenderly to her, while 
with tears of joy she went on thus : 

"When the disturber of our peace would not be dismissed 
with words, I was obliged to shut the door upon him ; and the 
only entrance by which he has access to us, is that fountain. 
His connexion with the other water-spirits, here in this region, is 
cut off by the valleys that border upon us, and his kingdom first 
commences further off on the Danube, in whose tributary streams 



CHAP. XIII.] 



UNDINE. 



some of his good friends have their abode. For this reason i 
caused the stone to be placed over the opening- of the fountain, 
and inscribed characters upon it, which baffle all the efforts 
of my suspicious and passionate uncle, so that he now has 
no power of intruding either upon you, or me, or Bertalda. 
Human beings, it is true, notwithstanding the characters I have 
inscribed there, are able to raise the stone without any extra- 
ordinary trouble ; there is nothing to prevent them. If you 
choose, therefore, remove it according to Bertalda's desire, but 
she assuredly knows not what she asks. The rude Kiihleborn 
looks with peculiar ill-will upon her ; and should much come 
to pass that he has imperfectly predicted to me, an\w^hich may 
well happen without your meaning any evil, — I fear, I fear, 
my dear husband, that you yourself would be exposed to peril." 

Huldbrand felt the generosity of his amiable wife in the depth 
of his heart, since she had been so active in confining her for- 
midable defender, and even at the very moment she was re- 
proached for it by Bertalda. Influenced by this feeling, he 
pressed her in his arms with the tenderest affection, and said 
with emotion: " The stone shall remain unmoved; all remains 
and ever skull remain, just as you choose to have it, my dear, 
very dear Undine !" 

At these long withheld expressions of tenderness, she returned 
hi? caresses with lowly delight, and at length said : " My dearest 
husband, since you are so very kind and indulgent to-day, may I 
venture to ask a favour of you ? Pray observe, it is with you as 
with Summer. Even amid its highest splendour. Summer puts 
on the flaming and thundering crown of glorious tempests, in 
which it strongly resembles a king and god on earth. You too 
are sometimes temble in your rebukes ; your eyes flash light- 
ning, while thunder resounds in your voice ; and although this 
may be quite becoming to you, I in my folly cannot but some- 
times weep at it. But never, I entreat you, behave thus toward 
me on a river, or even when we are near a piece of water. For 
if you should, pray consider what the consequences will be : 
my relations would acquire a right to exercise authoiity over 



76 



UNDINE. 



[CHAl*. XIP 



me. They would tear me from you in their fury with inexoi- 

able force, because they would conceive that one of their race 
was injured; and I should be compelled, as long as I lived, to 
dwell below in the crystal palaces, and never dare ascend to 
you again ; or should they send me up to you, — God ! that 
would be infinitely more deplorable still. No, no, my beloved 
husband, let it not come to that, if your poor Undine is dear to 
you." 

He solemnly promised to do as she desired, and, inexpressibly 
happy and full of affection, the married pair returned from the 
apartment. At this very moment, Bertalda came with some 
work-people, whom she had meanwhile ordered to attend her, 
and said with a fretful air, which she had assumed of late : — 

" Well, now the secret consultation is at an end, it is to be 
hoped the stone may come down. Go out, workmen, and exe- 
cute your business." 

The knight, however, highly resenting her impertinence, said 
in brief and very decisive terms : " The stone remains where 
it is." He reproved Bertalda also for the vehemence that she 
had shown toward his wife. Whereupon the workmen, smiling 
with secret satisfaction, withdrew ; while Bertalda, pale with 
rage, hurried away to her room. 

When the hour of supper came, Bertalda was waited for in 
vain. They sent for her ; but the domestic found her apart- 
ments empty, and brought back with him only a sealed billet, 
addressed to the knight. Trembling with alarm, he tore it 
open, and read : 

" I feel with shame, that I am only the daughter of a poor 
fisherman. That I for one moment forgot this, I wnW make 
expiation in the miserable hut of my parents. Farewell to you 
and your beautiful wife !" 

Undine was troubled at heart. Most earnestly she entreated 
Huldbrand to hasten after their friend, who had flown, and 
bring her back with him. Alas ! she had no occasion to urge 
him. His passion for Bertalda again burst forth with vehe- 
mence. He hurried round the castle, inquiring whether anv 



CHAP. XIII.] 



UNDINE. 



77 



one had seen which way the fair fugitive had gone. He could 
gain no information, and was already in the court on his horse, 
determining to take at a venture the road by which he had 
conducted Bertalda to the castle ; when there appeared a shield- 
boy, who assured him, that he had met the lady on the path to 
the Black Valley. Swift as an arrow, the knight sprung through 
the gate in the direction pointed out, without hearing Undine's 
voice of agony, as she cried after him from the window : 

" To the Black Valley ? O not there ! Huldbrand, not there ! 
or if you will go, for Heaven's sake take me with you !" 

But when she perceived that all her calling was of no avail, 
she ordered her white palfrey to be instantly saddled, and fol- 
lowed the knight without permitting a single servant to ac- 
company her. 



78 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XIV. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

How Bertalda returned with the Knight. 

The Black Valley lies secluded far among the mountains. 
What its present name may be, I am unable to say. At the 
time of which I am speaking, the country-people gave it this 
appellation from the deep obscurity produced by the shadows 
of lofty trees, more especially by a crowded gi'owth of firs, that 
covered this region of moor-land. Even the brook, which gushed 
out among the crags, and wound its way down a ravine into the 
valley, assumed there the same dark hue, and showed nothing 
of that cheerful aspect which streams are wont to wear, that 
have the blue sky immediately over them. 

It was now the dusk of evening, and the view between the 
heights had becom.e extremely wild and gloomy. The knight, 
in great anxiety, skirted the border of the brook ; he was at 
one time fearful, that by delay he should allow the fugitive to 
advance too far before him ; and then again, in his too eager 
rapidity, he was afraid he might somewhere overlook and pass 
by her, should she be desirous of concealing herself from his 
search. He had in the mean time penetrated pretty far into 
the valley, and might hope soon to overtake the maiden, pro- 
vided he were pursuing the right track. The fear, indeed, 
that he might not as yet have gained this track, made his heart 
beat with more and more of anxiety. In the stormy night, which 
was now impending, and which always hovered more fearfully 
over this valley, where would the delicate Bertalda shelter her- 
self, should he fail to find her ? At last, while these thoughts 
were darting across his mind, he saw something white glimmer 
through the branches on the ascent of the mountain. He felt 
quite certain, that the object he discerned was Bertalda's robe, 



cnA?. XIV.] 



UNDINE. 



79 



and he directed his course toward it. But his horse refused to go 
ibrward ; he reared with a fury so uncontrollable, and his mastei 
ivas so unwilling to lose a moment, that (especially as he saw 
the thickets were altogether impassable on horseback) he dis- 
mounted, and, having fastened his snorting steed to in elm, 
worked his way with caution through the matted underwood. 
The branches, moistened by the cold drops of the evening dew, 
keenly smote his forehead and cheeks ; thunder mutte: ed re- 
motely from the further side of the mountains ; &>id every 
thing put on so strange and mystic an appearance, that he be- 
gan to feel a dread of the white figure, which now lay only a 
short distance from him upon the ground. Still he could see 
with perfect clearness, that it was a female, either asleep or in 
a swoon, and dressed in long white garments, such as Bertalda 
had worn the past day. Approaching quite near to her, he 
made a rustling with the branches and a ringing with his sword, 
— but she did not move. 

" Bertalda !" he cried ; at first low, then louder and louder ; 
still she heard him not. At last, when he uttered the dear name 
with an energy yet more powerful, a hollow echo, from the 
mountain-summits around the valley, returned the deadened 
sound, " Bertalda !" Still the sleeper continued insensible. 
He stooped low, with a view to examine her countenance, but 
the duskiness of the valley and the obscurity of twilight would 
not allow him to distinguish her features. While with painful 
uncertainty he was bending over her, a flash of lightning sud- 
denly shot across the valley. By this stream of light, he saw a 
frightfully distorted visage close to his own, and a hoarse voice 
struck him with startling abruptness : " You enamoured shep- 
herd, give me a kiss !" 

Huldbrand sprang upon his feet with a cry of horror, and the 
hideous figure rose with him. 

" Home !" it cried with a deep murmur ; " the fiends are 
abroad. Home ! or I have you !" And it stret^.hed toward 
him its long white arms. 

" ]V?a!icious Kiihleborn," exclaimed the knight witn restored 



80 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XIV. 



energy, " if Kuhleborn you are, what business have you here ! 
— what's your will, you goblin! — There, take your kiss!" — 
And in fury he flashed his sword at the form. But the form 
vanished like vapour ; and a rush of water, giving the knight 
'as good a drenching as wetting him to the skin could make it, 
left him in no doubt with what foe he had been engaged. 

*• He wishes to frighten me back from my pursuit of Bertal- 
da," said he to himself; "he imagines, that I shall be terrified 
at his senseless enchantments, and resign the poor distressed 
girl to his power, so that he can Avreak his vengeance upon her 
at will. But, impotent spirit of the flood ! he shall find himself 
mistaken. What the heart of man can do, when it exerts the 
full force of its will, the strong energy of its noblest powers, of 
this the feeble enchanter has no comprehension." 

He felt the truth of his words, and that, in thus giving ut- 
terance to his thoughts, he had inspired his heart with fresh 
courage. Fortune too appeared to favour him ; for, before 
reaching his fastened steed, he distinctly heard the voice of 
Bertalda, where she was now weeping and now moaning not 
far before him, amid the roar of the thunder and the tempest, 
which every moment increased. He flew swiftly toward the 
sound, and found the trembling maiden, just as she was at- 
tempting to climb the steep, and striving, to the extent of her 
power, to escape from the dreadful darkness of this valley. 
He stepped before her, while he spoke in tones of the most 
soothing tenderness ; and bold and proud as her resolution had 
so lately been, she now felt nothing but the liveliest joy, that 
the man, whom she so passionately loved, would rescue her, from 
this frightful solitude, and extending to her his arms of welcome^ 
would still cast a brightness over her existence in their re- 
union at the castle. She followed almost unresisting, but so 
spent with fatigue, that the knight w^as glad to support her to 
his horse, which he now hastily unfastened from the elm : his 
intention was to lift the fair wanderer upon him, and then to 
lead him carefully by the reins through the uncertain shades 
of this lowland tract. 



CHAP. XIV.] UNDINE. 81 

But, owing to the mad appearance of Kiihleborn, the horse 
had become altogether unmanageable. Rearing and wildly 
snorting as he was, the knight must have used uncommon effort 
to mount the beast himself; to place the trembling Bertalda 
upon him was impossible. They were compelled, therefore, to 
return home on foot. While with one hand the knight drew 
the steed after him by the bridle, he supported the tottering Ber- 
talda with the other. She exerted all the strength she had re- 
maining, in order to escape from this vale of terrors as speed- 
ily as possible; but weariness weighed her down like lead, and 
a universal trembling seized her limbs, partly in consequence 
of what she had suffered from the extreme harassment with 
which Kiihleborn had pursued her, and in part from her con- 
tinual fear, arising from the roar of the tempest and thunder 
amid the mountain forest. 

At last she slid from the arm of her conductor ; and, sinking 
upon the moss, she said : " I can no more ; let me lie here, my 
noble lord. I suffer the punishment due to my folly, and nothing 
can save me now ; I must perish here through faintness and 
dismay." 

" Never, my sweet friend, will I leave you," cried Huld- 
brand, vainly trying to restrain the furious animal he was lead- 
ing ; for the horse was all in a foam, and began to. chafe more 
ungovernably than before, till the knight was glad merely to 
keep him at such a distance from the exhausted maiden, as 
would secure her from still greater fear and alarm. But hardly 
had he withdrawn five steps with the frantic steed, when she 
began to call after him in the most sorrow^ful accents, fearful 
that he would actually leave her in this horrible wilderness. 
He was wholly at a loss what course to take. Gladly would 
he have given the •enraged beast his liberty, — he would have 
let him rush away amid the night, and exhaust his fury, — ^had 
he not shuddered at the thought, that in this narrow defile his 
iron-shod hoofs might come trampling and thundering over the 
very spot where Bertalda lay. 

While he was in this extreme peril and enibarrassment, a feel' 
7 



62 



UNDINE. 



[OIUP. XTV 



ing of delight, not to be expressed, shot through him, when he 
heard the rumbling wheels of a wagon, as it came slowly do 
scending the stony slope behind them. He called out for help: 
answer was returned in the deep voice of a man, bidding them 
have patience, but promising assistance; and two horses cf 
grayish white soon after shone through the bushes, and near 
them their driver in the white frock of a carter ; and next ap- 
peared a great sheet of white linen, with w^hich the goods he 
Beemed to be conveying, were covered. The whitish grays, 
in obedience to a shout from their master, stood still. He came 
up to the knight, and aided him in checking the fury of the 
foaming charger. 

" I know well enough," said he, " what is the matter with 
the brute. The first time I travelled this way, my horses were 
just as wilful and headstrong as yours. The reason is, there 
is a water-spirit haunts this valley, and a wicked wight they 
say he is, who takes delight in mischief and witcheries of this 
sort. But I have learned a charm ; and if you will let me 
whisper it in your horse's ear, he will stand just as quiet as my 
silver grays there." 

" Try your luck, then, and help us as quick as possible !" 
said the impatient knight. 

Upon this the wagoner drew down the head of the rearing 
courser close to his own, and spoke some half-dozen words in 
his ear. The animal instantly stood still and subdued ; only 
his quick panting and smoking sweat showed his recent vio- 
lence. 

Huldbrand had little time to inquire, by what means this 
had been effected. He agreed with the man, that he should 
take Bertalda in his wagon, where, as he said, a quantity of soft 
cotton was stowed, and he might in this » way convey her to 
Castle Ringstetten ; the knight could accompany them on 
horseback. But the horse appeared to be too much exhausted 
to carry his master so far. Seeing this, the man ad\dsed him 
to mount the wagon with Bertald''. The horse could be tied to 
it btliiud. 



CHAP. XIV.] 



UNDINE. 



83 



" It is down hill," said he, " and the load for my grays will 
therefore be light." 

The knight accepted his offer, and entered the wagon with 
Btrtalda ; the horse followed quietly after, while the wagoner, 
sturdy and attentive, walked beside them. 

Amid the silence and deepening obscurity of the night, the 
tempest became more and more remote and hushed ; in the com- 
fortable feeling of their security and their commodious passage, a 
confidential conversation arose between Huldbrand and Bertal- 
da. He reproved her in the most gentle and affectionate terms 
for her resentful flight ; she excused herself with humility and 
feeling ; and from every tone of her voice it was evident, — just 
as a lamp guides a lover amid the secrecy of night to his wait- 
ing mistress, — that she still cherished her former affection for 
him. The knight felt the se?ise of what she said far more than 
the words themselves, and he answered simply to this sense, — 
to the feeling and not the confession of. love. 

In the midst of this interchange of murmured feelings, the 
wagoner suddenly shouted with a startling voice : " Up, my 
grays, up with your feet ! Hey, my hearts, now together, show 
your spirit ! Do it handsomely ! remember who you are !" 

The knight bent over the side of the wagon, and saw that the 
horses had dashed into the midst of a foaming stream, and v/ere, 
indeed, almost swimming, while the wheels of the wagon were 
rushing round and flashing like mill-wheels, and the teamster 
had got on before to avoid the swell of the flood. 

" What sort of a road is this ? It leads into the middle of the 
stream !" cried Huldbrand to his guide. 

" Not at all. Sir," returned he with a laugh, " it is just the 
contrary. The stream is running in the middle of our road. 
Only look about you, and see how all is overflowed." 

The whole valley, in fact, was covered and in comirotion, as 
the waters, suddenly raised and visibly rising, swopt over it. 

" It is Kiihleborn, that devil of a water-spirit, who wishes to 
drown us !" exclaimed the knight. " Have you nc charm of 
[irotection against him, companion ?" 



B4 



UNDINE. 



[chap. xit. 



" Charm ! to be sure I have one," ansrwered the wagonei^ 
^ but I cannot and must not make use of it, before you know 
who I am." 

" Is this a time for riddles ?" cried the knight. " The flood 
is every moment rising higher and higher, and what does it 
concern Ttie to know who ijoib are ?" 

But mayhap it does concern you though," said the guide, 

" for I AM KUHLEBORN." 

Thus speaking, he thrust his face into the wagon, and laughed 
with every feature distorted ; but the wagon remained a wagon 
no longer, the grayish w^hite horses were horses no longer ; all 
was transformed to foam, — all sunk into the waves that rushed 
and hissed around them, — while the wagoner himself, rising in 
the form of a gigantic surge, dragged the vainly struggling 
courser under the waters, then rose again huge as a liquid 
tower, burst over the heads of the floating pair, and was on the 
point of burying them iiTecoverably beneath it. 

At that instant, the soft voice of Undine was heard through 
the uproar ; the moon emerged through the clouds, and by its 
light Undine became visible on the heights above the valley. 
She rebuked, she threatened the flood below her : the menacing 
and tower-like billow vanished muttering and murmuring ; the 
waters gently flowed away under the beams of the moon ; while 
Undine, lilce a hovering white dove, came sweeping do^^ii from 
the hill, raised the knight and Bertalda, and supported them to 
a green spot of turf, where, by her earnest efibrts, she soon re 
stored them, and dispelled their terrors. She then assisted 
Bertalda to mount the white palfrey, on which she had herself 
been borne to the valley, and thus all three returned homeward 
to Castle Ringstetten. 



CHAP. XV.] 



UNDINE. 



85 



CHAPTER XV. 

Passage down the Danube to Vienna. 

After this last adventure, they lived at the castle undisturbed 
and in peaceful enjoyment. The knight was more and more 
impressed with the heavenly goodness of his wife, which she 
had so nobly shown by her instant pursuit, and by the rescue 
she had effected in the Black Valley, where the power of 
Kiihleborn again commenced. Undine herself felt that peace 
and security which the mind never fails to experience, so long 
as it has the consciousness of being in the path of rectitude ; 
and she had this additional comfort, that, in the newly awaken- 
ed love and regard of her husband, Hope and Joy were rising 
upon her with their myriad beams of promise. 

Bertalda, on the other hand, showed herself grateful, humble, 
and timid, without taking to herself any merit for so doing. 
Whenever Hulbrand or Undine began to explain to her their 
reason for covering the fountain, or their adventures in the 
Black Valley, she would earnestly entreat them to spare her 
the recital, since the fountain had occasioned her too much 
shame, and the Black Valley too much terror, to be made 
topics of conversation. With respect to these, therefore, she 
learnt nothing further from either of them; and why was it 
necessary that she should be informed? Peace and Happi- 
ness had visibly taken up their abode at Castle Ringstetten. 
They enjoyed their present blessings in perfect security ; and 
in relation to the future, they now imagined it impossible, that 
life could produce any thing but pleasant flowers and fruits. 

In this grateful union of friendship and affection, winter came 
and passed away ; and spring, with its foliage of tender green 
and its heaven of softest blue^ succeeded to gladden the hearts 



8b* 



UNDINE. 



[chap. x» 



of the inmates of the castle. The season was in harmony with 
their minds, and their minds imparted their own hue and tone 
to tlie season. What wonder, then, that its storks and swal- 
lows inspired them also with a disposition to t.tivel ! On a 
bright morning, while they were taking a walk down to one of 
the sources of the Danube, Huldbrand spoke of the magnifi- 
cence of this noble stream, how it continued swelling as it flow - 
ed through countries enriched by its Avaters, with what splen- 
dour Vienna rose and sparkled on its banks, and how it grew 
lovelier and more imposing almost the whole of its progress. 

" It must be glorious to trace its course down to Vienna !" 
Bertalda exclaimed with warmth ; but, immediately resuming 
the humble and modest demeanour she had recently shown, she 
paused and blushed in silence. 

This slight circumstance was extremely touching to Undine; 
and with the liveliest wish to gratify her friend, she said : " And 
who or what shall prevent our taking this little voyage ?" 

Bertalda leapt up with delight, and the two females the same 
moment began painting this enchanting trip on the Danube in 
the most brilliant colours. Huldbrand, too, agreed to the pro- 
ject with pleasure ; only he once whispered with something of 
alarm in Undine's ear : " But, at that distance, Kiihleborn be- 
comes possessed of his power again ?" 

" Let him come, let him come," she answered with a laugh ; 
" I shall be there, and he dares do none of his mischief in my 
presence." 

Thus was the last impediment removed ; they prepared for 
the expedition, and soon set out upon it with lively spirits and 
the brightest hopes. 

But be not surprised, O man, if events almost always happen 
very differently from what you expect. That malign power, 
tvhich lies in ambush for our destruction, delights to lull its 
chosen victim asleep with sweet songs and golden delusions ; 
while, on the other hand, the messenger of Heaven, sent to 
rescue us from peril, o^ten thunders at our doo^ with the vio- 
lence of alarm and terror. 



CHAP. XV.] 



UNDINE. 



87 



During the first days of their passage down the Danube, they 
were unusually gratified. The further they advanced upon the 
waters of this proud river, the views became more and more 
picturesque and attractive. But here, amid scenes otherwise 
most delicious, and from which they had promised themselves 
the purest delight, here again the stubborn Kiihleborn, drop- 
ping all disguise, began to show his power of annoying them. 
He had no other means of doing this, indeed, than mere tricks 
and illusions, for Undine often rebuked the swelling w aves or 
the contrary winds, and then the insolence of the enemy was 
instantly humbled and subdued ; but his attacks were renewed, 
and Undine's reproofs again became necessary; so that the 
pleasure of this little water-party was completely destroyed. 
The boatmen, too, were continually whispering to one another 
in dismay, and eyeing their three superiors with distrust ; while 
even the servants began more and more to form dismal sur- 
mises, and to watch their master and mistress with looks of sus- 
picion. 

Huldbrand often said to himself, in the silence of his soul : 
" This comes to pass, when like marries not like, — when a man 
forms an unnatural union with a female of the sea." Still, ex- 
cusing himself, as we are most of us so fond of doing, he fre- 
quently pursued a train of thought like this : " I did not in ftict 
know that she was a maid of the sea. It is my misfortune, 
that all my steps are haunted and disturbed by the wild hu- 
mours of her kindred, but it is not my crime." 

Making reflections like these, he felt himself in some measure 
strengthened ; but, on the other hand, he only the more enter- 
tained a feeling of ill-humour against Undine, almost amount- 
ing to malevolence. He cast upon her glances of fretfulness 
and ill-nature, and the unhappy wife but too well understood 
their meaning. 

One day, grieved by this unkindness, as well as exhausted 
by her continual exertions to foil the artifices of Kiihleborn, 
while rocked and soothed by the gen.le motion of the bark, she 
toward evening fell into a deep slumber. But hardly had she 



88 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XV 



closed her eyes, when every person in the boat, in whatever 
direction he might look upon the water, saw the head of a man, 
beyond imagination frightful : each head rose out of the waves, 
not like that of a person swimming, but quite perpendicular, as 
if firmly fastened to the watery mirror, and yet moving on 
with the bark. Every one wished to show to his companion 
what terrified himself, and each perceived the same expression 
of horror on the face of the other, only his hand and eye were 
directed to a different quarter, as if to a point where the 
monster, half laughing and half threatening, rose opposite to 
himself 

When, however, they wished to make one another understand 
the sight, and all cried out, " Look there !" " No, there !" the 
frightful heads all became visible to each, and the whole river 
around the boat swarmed with the most horrible faces. All raised 
a scream of terror at the sight, and Undine started from sleep. 
The moment she opened her eyes upon the mad group, the de- 
formed visages disappeared. But Huldbrand was made furious 
by so many hideous visions. He would have burst out in wild 
imprecations, had not Undine, with the most submissive air, and 
in the gentlest tone of supplication, thus entreated him : 

" For God's sake, my husband, do not express displeasure 
against me here, — we are on the water." 

The knight was silent and sat down, absorbed in deep thought. 
Undine whispered in his ear : " Would it not be better, my 
love, to give up this foolish voyage, and return to Castle Ring- 
stetten in peace ?" 

But Huldbrand murmured wrathfully: " So I must become 
a prisoner in my own castle ? and not be allowed to breathe a 
moment but while the fountain is covered ? Would to Heaven 
that your cursed kindred" 

At these fatal words, Undine pressed her fliir hand on hia 
lips with the most touching tenderness. He said no more, but, 
assuming an air of composure, pondered on all that Undine had 
lately warned him to avoid. 

Bertalda, meanwhile, had given herself up to a crowd of wild 



CHAP. XV 



UNDINE. 



89 



and wandering thoughts. Of Undine's origin she knew a good 
deal, but not the whole ; and the terrible Kiihleborn especially 
remained to her an awful, an impenetrable mystery; never, 
indeedj had she once heard his name. Musing upon this series 
of wo iders, she unclasped, without being fully conscious of 
what she was doing, a gold necklace, which Huldbrand, on one 
of the preceding days of their passage, had bought for her of a 
travelling trader ; and she was now letting it swing in sport 
just over the surface of the stream, while, in her dreamy mood, 
she enjoyed the bright reflection it threw on the water, so clear 
beneath the glow of evening. That instant, a huge hand 
flashed suddenly up from the Danube, seized the necklace ir 
its grasp, and vanished with it beneath the flood. Bertaldi 
shrieked aloud, and a laugh of mockery and contempt came 
pealing up from the depth of the river.* 

The knight could now restrain his wrath no longer. He 
started up, gazed fiercely upon the deep, poured forth a torrent 
of reproaches, heaped curses upon all who interfered with his 

* This fine passage of Fouque bears a strong resemblance to a finer one 
in Southey's Thalaba, Book V. : 

" And he drew off Abdaldar's ring, 
And cast it in the gulf. 
A skinny hand came up, 
And caught it as it fell, 
And peals of devilish laughter shook the cave." 
The reader, if he take any interest in the coincidences of genius, may like 
to compare with these passages, the followiui) verse from king Arthur's 
death in Percy's Reliques : 

" A hande and an arme did meet the s vorde^ 
And flourish'd three times in the air ; 
Then sunke benethe the renninge strerae. 
And of the duke was scene noe mair." 
See also this same incident of the Hand very strongly pictured in Ten- 
nyson's MoRTE D' Arthur. The whole poem, indeed, is so full of power, 
beauty, and tenderness, that we hope the author will take a hint from it, 
as a suggestion of his good genius, relative to his talent in this style of com- 
position. 



90 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XV 



friends or troubled his life, and dared them all, water-spirits or 
mermaids, to come within the sweep of his sword. 

Bertalda, meantime, wept for the loss of the ornament so very- 
dear to her heart, and her tears were to Huld brand as oil pour-ed 
upon the flame of his fury ; while Undine held her hand over 
the side of the boat, dipping it in the waves, softly murmuring 
to herself, and only at times interrupting her strange mysteriou? 
whisper, when she addressed her husband in a voice of entreaty ; 
" Do not reprove me here, beloved ; blame all others, as you 
will, but here, do not reprove me here. Surely you know the 
reason !" And, in truth, though he was trembling with excess 
of passion, he with strong effort kept himself from uttering a 
single word against her. 

She then brought up in her wet hand, which she had been 
holding under the waves, a coral necklace of such exquisite 
beauty, such sparkling brilliancy, as dazzled the eyes of all who 
beheld it. " Take this," said she, holding it out kindly to Ber- 
talda ; " I have ordered it to be brought, to make some amends 
for your loss, and do not, dear heart, be troubled any more." 

But the knight rushed between them, and, snatching the beau- 
tiful ornament out of Undine's hand, hurled it back into the 
flood, and in a flame of rage exclaimed : " So then, you have a 
connexion with them forever ? In the name of all witches and 
enchanters, go and remain among them with your presents, 
you sorceress, and leave us human beings in peace !" 

But poor Undine, with a look of mute amazement and eyes 
streaming with tears, gazed on him, her hand still stretched out, 
just as it was when she had so lovingly offered her brilliant gift 
to Bertalda. She then began to weep more and more, as if her 
heart would break, like a tender, innocent child, very bitterly 
grieved. At last, all wearied out, she said : 

" Alas, dearest, all is over now, — farewell ! They shall do 
you no harm ; only remain true, lhat I may have power to keep 
them from you. But I, alas, must go away, I must go away, 
even in this early dawn of youth and bliss. O woe, woe, what 
have you done ! O woe, woe !" 



CMAP. XV. 1 



UNDINE. 



91 



And she vanished over the side of the boat. — Whether she 
plunged into the stream, or whether, like water melting into 
water, she flowed away with it, they knew not, her disappear- 
ance so much resembled both united, and neither by itself. But 
she was gone, gliding on with the Danube, instantly and com- 
pletely ; only little waves were yet whispering and sobbing 
around the boat,* and they seemed almost distinctly to say . " O 
woe, woe ! Ah, remain true ! O woe !" 

Bat Huldbrand, in a passion of burning tears, threw himself 
upon the deck of the bark, and a deep swoon soon wrapped the 
wretched man in a blessed forgetfulness of misery. 

* The original of this clause is, " nur flusterten noch kleine Wellchen 
schluchzend um den Kahn." If the translator may be allowed to express 
his admiration, without being considered intrusive, he would say that nothing 
could liave been more exquisitely conceived than this circumstance. 



92 



UNDINE. 



[CITAP. XVL 



CHAPTER XVI. 

What further happened to Huldbrand. 

The brief period of our mourning, — ought we to ziew it as a 
misfortune, or as a blessing ? I mean that deep mourning of 
the heart, which gushes up from the very well-springs of our 
being ; that mourning, which becomes so perfectly one with the 
lost object of our affection, that this even ceases to be a lost 
thing to the sorromng heart ; and which desires to make the 
whole life a holy office dedicated to the image of the depart- 
ed, until we too pass that bourne which separates it from our 
view. 

Some men there are, indeed, who have this profound tender- 
ness of spirit, and who thus consecrate their affections to the 
memory of the departed ; but still their mourning softens into 
an emotion of gentle melancholy, having none of the intense- 
ness of the first agony of separation. Other and foreign images 
intervene, and impress themselves upon the mind ; we learn at 
last the transitory nature of every thing earthly, even from that 
of our affliction ; and I cannot therefore but view it as a mis- 
fortune, that the period of our mourning is so brief 

The lord of Ringstetten learnt the truth of this by experience ; 
but whether he derived any advantage from the knowledge, we 
shall discover in the sequel of this history. At first he could do 
nothing but weep, weep as bitterly as the poor amiable Undine 
had wept, when he snatched out of her hand that brilliant or- 
nament, Avith which she so beautifully wished to make amends 
for Bertalda's loss. And then he stretched his hand out as she 
had done, and wept again like her with renewed violence. 
He 'cherished a secret hope, that even the springs of life would 
at last become exhausted by weeping ; and when we have been 



CIIAP. XVI.] 



UNDINE. 



93 



severely afflicted, has not a similar thought passed through the 
minds of many of us with a painful pleasure ? Bertalda wept 
with him ; and they lived together a long while at Castle Ring- 
stetten in undisturbed quiet, honouring the memory of Undine, 
and having almost wholly forgotten their former attachment. 

Owing to this tender remembrance of Huldbrand, and to en- 
courage him in conduct so exemplary, the good Undine, about 
this time, often visited his dreams ; she soothed him with soft 
and aflTectionate caresses, and then went away again, weeping 
in silence ; so that when he awoke, he sometimes knew not how 
his cheeks came to be so wet, — whether it was caused by her 
tears, or only by his own. 

But as time advanced, these visions became less frequent, 
and the severity of the knight's sorrow was softened ; still he 
might never while he lived, it may be, have entertained any 
other wish than thus to think of Undine in silence, and to speak 
of her in conversation, had not the old fisherman arrived unex- 
pectedly at the castle, and earnestly insisted on Bertalda's re- 
turning with him, as his child. He had received information 
of Undine's disappearance, and he was not willing to allow 
Bertalda to continue longer at the castle with the now unmar- 
ried knight. " For," said he, " whether my daughter loves me 
or not, is at present what I care not to know ; but her good 
name is at stake, and where tJiat commands or forbids, not a 
word more need be said." 

This resolution of the old fisherman, and the fearful solitude, 
that, on Bertalda's departure, thieatened to oppress the knight 
in every hall and passage of the deserted castle, brought a cir- 
cumstance into distinct consciousness, which, owing to his sor- 
row for Undine, had of late been slumbering and completely 
forgotten, — I mean his attachment to the fair Bertalda ; and this 
he made known to her father. 

The fisherman had many objections to make to the proposed 
marriage. The old man had loved Undine with exceeding 
tenderness, and it was doubtful to his mind, whether the mere 
disappearance of his beloved child could be properly viewed as 



UNDINE; 



[chap. XVI. 



her death. But were it even granted, that her corse were ly- 
ing stiff and cold at the bottom of the Danube, or swept away 
by the current to the ocean, still Bertalda would not be guilt- 
. ess in her death ; and it was unfitting for her to step into the 
place of the poor banished wife. The fisherman, however, had 
felt a strong regard also for the knight : this, and the entrea- 
ties of his daughter, who had become much more gentle and 
respectful, as well as her tears for Undine, all exerted their in- 
fluence ; and he must at last have been forced to give up his 
opposition, for he remained at the castle without objection, and a 
courier was sent off express to father Heilmann, who in former 
and happier days had united Undine and Huldbrand, request- 
ing him to come and perform the ceremony at the knight's 
second marriage. 

But hardly had the holy man read through the letter from 
the lord of Ringstetten, ere he set out upon the journey, and 
made much greater dispatch on his way to the castle, than the 
messenger from there had made in reaching him. Whenever 
his breath failed him in his rapid progress, or his old limbs 
ached with fatigue, he would say to himself : " Perhaps I may 
still be in season to prevent a sin ; then sink not, weak and 
withered body, before I arrive at the end of my journey !" 
And with renewed vigour he pressed forward, hurrying on 
without rest or repose, until, late one evening, he entered the 
embowered court-yard of Castle Ringstetten. - 

The betrothed pair were sitting arm-in-arm under the trees, 
and the aged fisherman in a thoughtful mood sat near them. 
The moment they saw father Heilmann, they rose with a spring 
of joy, and pressed round him with eager welcome. But he, 
in few words, urged the bridegroom* to accompany him into the 
casde ; and when Huldbrand stood mute with surprise, and de- 
layed complying with his earnest request, the pious priest said 
to him: 



* The betrothed, are called bride and bridegroom in Grermany. 



CHAP. XVI.] 



UNDINE. 



95 



" Why do I then defer speaking, my lord of Ringstctlcii. 
until I can address you in private ? There is no occasion for 
the delay of a moment. What I have to say, as much concernf? 
Bertalda and the fisherman as yourself ; and what we cannot 
avoid hearing at some time, it is best to hear as soon as pos- 
sible. Are you then so very certain^ knight Huldbrand, that 
your first wife is actually dead ? It hardly appears so to me. 
I will say nothing, indeed, of the mysterious state in which she 
may be now existing ; in truth, I know nothing of it with c&c- 
tainty. But that she was a most devoted and faithful wifc^ so 
much is beyond all dispute. And for fourteen nights past, she 
has appeared to me in a dream, standing at my bed-side, wring- 
ing her tender hands in anguish, and imploring me with deep 
sighs : ' Ah, prevent him, dear father ! I am still living ! Ah 
save his life ! ah ! save his soul !' 

" What this vision of the night could mean, I was at first un- 
able to divine ; then came your messenger, and I have now 
hastened hither, not to unite, but, as I hope, to separate, what 
ought not to be joined together. Leave her, Huldbrand ! Leave 
him, Bertalda ! He still belongs to another ; and do you not 
see on his pale cheek the traces of that grief, which the disap- 
pearance of his wife has produced there ? That is not the 
look of a bridegroom, and the spirit breathes the presage on 
my soul : ' If you do not leave him, you will never, never be 
happy.' " 

The three felt in their inmost hearts, that father Heilmann 
spoke the truth ; but still they affected not to believe him, or 
they strove rather to resist their conviction. Even the old 
fisherman had become so infatuated, that he conceived the mar- 
riage to be now indispensable, as they had so often, during 
the time he had been with them, mutually agreed to the ar- 
rangement. They all, therefore, with a determined and gloomy 
eagerness, struggled against the representations and warnings 
of the holy man, until, shaking his head and oppressed with 
sorrow, he finally quitted the castle, not choosing to accep* 



96 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XVI, 



their offered shelter even for a single night, or indeed so much 
as to taste a morsel of the refreshment they brought him. Huld- 
brand persuaded himself, however, that the priest was a mere 
visionary, and sent at day-break to a monk of the nearest mo- 
nastery, who, without scruple, promised to perform the ceremo- 
ny in a lew days. 



CHAP XVIl ] 



UNDINE. 



97 



CHAPTER XVIL 

The Knight's Dream. 

It was at the earliest moment of dawn, when night begins faint- 
ly to brighten into morning twilight, that Huldbrand was lying 
on his couch, half waking and half sleeping. Whenever he 
attempted to compose himself to sleep, he was seized with an 
undefined terror, that made him shrink back from the enjoy- 
ment, as if his slumber were crowded with spectres. But 
whenever he made an effort to rouse himself, the wings of a 
swan seemed to be waving around him, and soothing him with 
the music of their motion, and thus in a soft delusion of the 
senses he sunk back into his state of imperfect repose. 

At last, however, he must have fallen perfectly asleep ; for, 
while the sound of the swan-wings was murmuring around him, 
he seemed to be lifted by their regular strokes, and to be waft- 
ed far away over land and sea, and still their music swelled on 
his ear most sweetly. " The music of the swan ! the song of 
the swan !" he could not but repeat to himself every moment ; 
" is it not a sure foreboding of death Probably, however, it 
had yet another meaning. All at once he seemed to be hover- 
ing over the Mediterranean Sea. A swan with her loud melody 
sung in his ear, that this was the Mediterranean Sea ; and while 
he was lookmg down upon the waves, they became transparent 
as crystal, so that he could see through them to the very bottom. 

At this a thrill of delight shot through him, for he could see 
Undine, where she was sitting beneath the clear domes of crys- 
tal. It is true, she was weeping very bitterly, and such was 
the excess of her grief, that she bore only a faint resemblance 
to the bright and joyous being she had been, during those hap- 
py days they had lived together at Castle Ringstetten, both on 
8 



98 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XVIt 



their arrival there and afterward, a short time before they set 
out upon their fatal passage down the Danube. The knight 
could not avoid dwelling upon all this with deep emotion, but it 
did noc appear that Undine was aware of his presence. 

Kiihleborn had meanwhile approached her, and was about (o 
reprove her for weeping, when she assumed the boldness of supe- 
riority, and looked upon him with an air so majestic and com- 
manding, that he was well-nigh terrified and confounded by it. 

" Although I too now dwell here beneath the waters," said 
she, " yet I have brought my soul with me ; and therefore I 
may well be allowed to weep, little as you may conceive the 
meaning of such tears. They are even a blessed privilege, as 
every thing is such a privilege, to one gifted with the true soul." 

He shook his head with disbelief of what she said, and, after 
musing a moment or two, replied : " And yet, niece, you are 
subject to our laws of the element, as a being of the same na- 
ture with ourselves ; and, should he prove unfaithful to you 
and marry again, you are obliged to take away his life." 

" He remains a widower to this very hour," replied Undine, 
" and he still loves me with the passion of a sorrovdul heart." 

"He is, however, a bridegroom withal," said Kiihleborn, 
with a chuckle of scorn ; " and let only a few days wear away, 
and anon comes the priest with his nuptial blessing, and then 
you must go up and execute your share of the business, the 
death of the husband with two wives." 

"I have not the power," returned Undine, with a smile. 
" Do you not remember ? I have sealed up the fountain se- 
curely, not only against myself but all of the same race." 

" Still, should he leave his castle," said Kiihleborn, " or 
should he once allow the fountain to be uncovered, what then ? 
for doubtless he thinks there is no great murder in such trifles."* 

" For that very reason," said Undine, still smiling amid hex 

* " Dcnn er denkt gewiss blutwenig an alle diese Dlnge." ' For he surely 
thinks very little of all these things.' The temptation tQ render this odd 
idiom, blutwenig, by some equivalent phrase in English, was a whim too 
fctrong to be resisted. 



CHAP. XVII.] 



UNDINE. 



99 



tears, " for that very reason he is this moment hovering in spirit 
here over the Mediterranean Sea, and dreaming of this voice of 
warning which our conversation affords him. With a view to 
give him this warning, I have studiously disposed the whole 
vision." 

That instant Kiihleborn, inflamed with rage, looked up at the 
knight, ^vrathfully threatened him, stamped upon the ground, 
and then, swift as the passion that possessed him, sprang up 
from beneath the waves. He seemed to swell in his fury to :he 
size of a whale. Again the swans began to sing, to wave their 
wings, to fly; the knight seemed to be soaring away over 
mountains and streams, and at last to alight at Castle Ringstet- 
ten, where he awoke upon his couch. 

Upon his couch he actually did awake, and his attendant, 
entering at the same moment, informed him, that father Heil- 
mann was still lingering in the neighbourhood ; that he had, 
the evening before, met with him in the forest, where he was 
sheltering himself under a booth, which he had formed by in- 
terweaving the branches of trees, and covering them with moss 
and fine brush-wood ; and that to the question, ' What he was 
doing there, since he had so firmly refused to perform the nup- 
tial ceremony V his answer was : 

" There are yet other ceremonies to perform, beside those at 
the altar of marriage ; and though I did not come to officiate 
at the wedding, I can still officiate at a very difl^erent solemnity. 
All things have their season, and we must be ready for them 
all. Besides, marrying and mourning are by no means very 
far from each fjther, as every one, not wilfully blinded, must 
know full well." 

In consequence of these words and of his dream, the knight 
made a variety of reflections, some wild and some not utimix- 
ed with alarm. But a man is apt to consider it very disagree' 
able to give over an affair, which he has once settled in his 
mind as certain, and therefore all went on just according to the 
old arrangement. 



100 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XVUl 



CHAPTER XVIIL 

How the Knight Huldbrand solemnized his marriage. 

Should I relate to you the events of the marriage festival at 
Castle Riiigstettcrij it would seem as if you were viewing a 
crowded assemblage of bright and joyous things, but all over- 
spread with a black mourning crape, through whose darkening 
vejl the whole splendour appeared less to resemble pleasure, 
than a mockery of the nothingness of all earthly joys. 

It was not that any spectral visitation disturbed the scene of 
festivity; for the castle, as we well know, had been secured 
against the mischief and menaces of water-spirits. But the 
knight, the fisherman, and all the guests, were unable to banish 
the feeling, that the chief personage of the feast was still want- 
ing, and that this chief personage could be no other than the 
amiable Undine, so dear to them all. 

Whenever a door was heard to open, all eyes were involun- 
tarily turned in that direction ; and if it was nothing but the 
steward with new dishes, or the cup-bearer with a supply of 
wine of higher flavour than the last, they again looked down 
in sadness and disappointment ; while the flashes of wit and 
merriment that had been passing at times from one to another, 
ceased, and were succeeded by tears of mournful remem- 
brance. 

The bride was the least thoughtful of the company, and 
therefore the most happy ; but even she, occasionally, found it 
difiicult to realize the fact, that she was sitting at the head of 
the table, wearing a green garland and gold-embroidered gar- 
ments, while Undine was lying a corse, stiff* and cold, ai the 
bottom of the Danube, or carried out by the current into the 
ocean. For, ever since her father had suggested something of 



CHAP. XVIII.] 



ITNDINE. 



101 



this sort, his words were continually sounding in her ear ; and 
this day, in particular, they would neither fade from her me- 
mory nor yield to other thoughts. 

Evening had scarcely arrived, when the company returned 
to their homes ; not dismissed by the impatience of the bride- 
groom, as wedding parties are sometimes broken up, but con- 
strained solely by painful associations, joyless melancholy, and 
forebodings of evil. Bertalda retired with her maidens, and the 
knight with his attendants, to undress ; but these young bride- 
maids and bridemen, such was the gloomy tenor of this festival, 
made no attempt to amuse bride or bridegroom with the usual 
pleasantry and frolicksome good-humour of the occasion. 

Bertalda wished to awake a livelier spirit ; she ordered them to 
spread before her a brilliant set of jewels, a present from Huld- 
brand, together with rich apparel and veils, that she might 
select from among them the brightest and most beautiful for her 
dress in the morning. The attendants rejoiced at this oppor- 
tunity of pouring forth good wishes and promises of happiness 
to their young mistress, and failed not to extol the beauty of the 
bride with their liveliest eloquence. They became more and 
more absorbed in this admiration and flattery, until Bertalda at 
last, looking in a mirror, said with a sigh : 

" Ah, but do you not see plainly how freckled I am growing ? 
Look here on the side of my neck." 

They looked at the place, and found the freckles, indeed, as 
their fair mistress had said ; but they called them mere beauty- 
spots, the faintest touches of the sun, such as would only heighten 
the \^'hiteness of her delicate complexion. Bertalda shook her 
he.'id, and still viewed them as a blemish. 

And I could remove them," she said at last, sighing. " But 
ihe castle-fountain is covered, from which I formerly used to 
have that precious water, so purifying to the skin. O, had I 
this evening only a single flagon of it !" 

Is that all ?" cried an alert waiting-maid, laughing, as she 
glided out of the apartment. 

" She will not b.e so frantic," said Bertalda, in a voice of in- 



102 



UNDIT^E. 



[criAP. xviii. 



quiry and agreeably surprisedj " as to cause the stone cover of 
ihe fountain to be taken off this very evening ?" 

That instant they heard the tread of men already passing 
along the court-yard, and could see from the window where the 
officious girl was leading them directly up to the fountain, and 
that they carried levers and other instruments on their shoulders. 

" L is certainly my will," said Bertalda with a smile, " if it 
does not take them too long." And, pleased with the thought, 
tliat the merest hint from her was now sufficient to accomplish 
what had formerly been refused with a painful reproof, she 
looked down upon their operations in the bright moonlight of the 
castle court. 

The men seized the enormous stone, as if they must exert all 
their strength in raising it ; some one of their number indeed 
would occasionally sigh, when he recollected they were destroy- 
ing the work of their former beloved mistress. Their labour, 
however, was much lighter than they had expected. It seemed 
as if some power, from within the fountain itself, aided them in 
raising the stone. 

" It certainly appears," said the workmen to one another in 
astonishment, " as if the confined water were become a jet or 
spouting fountain." And the stone rose more and more, and, 
almost without the assistance of the work-people, rolled slowly 
away upon the pavement with a hollow sound. But an appear-, 
ance, from the opening of the fountain, filled them with awe, as 
it rose like a white column of water : at first they imagined it 
to be a spouting fountain in good earnest, until they perceived 
the rising form to be a pale female, veiled in white. She wept 
bitterly, raised her hands above her head, and wrung them with 
anguish, as with slow and solemn step she moved toward the 
castle. The servants shrunk back, and fled from the fountain ; 
while the bride, pale and motionless with horror, stood with her 
maidens at the window from which she had been viewing what 
passed without. When the figure had now come close beneath 
their room, it looked up to them and uttered the low moaning of 
misery, and Bertalda thought she recognized through the veil 



CHAP. XVIII.] 



UNDINK 



103 



the pale features of Undinr But the mourn' .. g form passed on 
as sad, reluctant, and lingering, as if going t<.^ the place of exe- 
cution. Bertalda screamecJ to her maids to call the knight ; 
not one of them dared to stir from her place ; and even the bride 
herself became again mute, as if trembling at the sound of her 
own voice. 

While they continued standing at the window, o\ erpowered 
with terror and motionless as statues, the mysterious wanderer 
entered the castle, ascended the well-known stairs, and tra- 
versed the well-known halls, her tears ever flowing in silent 
woe. Alas, with what different emotions had she once passed 
through these rooms ! 

The knight had in the mean time dismissed his attendants. 
Half undressed and in deep dejection^ he was standing before 
a large mirror ; a wax taper burned dimly beside him. At 
this moment he heard a low tapping at his door, the least per- 
ceptible touch of a finger. Undine had formerly tapped in 
this way, when she wished to amuse him with her endearing 
sportiveness. 

" It is all illusion! a mere freak of fancy!" said he to him- 
self " I must to my nuptial bed." 

" You must, indeed, but to a cold one !" he heard a voice, 
choked with sobs, repeat from without ; and then he saw in the 
mirror, that the door of his room was slowly, slowly opened, and 
the white wanderer entered, and gently secured it behind her. 

" They have opened the fountain," said she in a low tone, 
" and now I am here and you must die." 

He felt in the shock and death-pause of his heart, that this 
must indeed be his doom ,: but, covering his eyes with his 
hands, he cried: " Do not, in my death-hour, do not drive me 
to distraction with terror. If you have a visage of horror be- 
hind that veil, do not lift it ! Take my life, but let me not see 
you." 

" Alas !" replied the wanderer, " will you not then look upon 
me once mo^e ? I am as beautiful now as when you wooed 
mo on the peninsula !" 



104 



UNDINE. 



[chap, xviir 



" O would to God it were so !" sighed Huldbrand, " and 
that I might die by a kiss from you !" 

" Most wiKingly do I grant your wish, my dearest love," saia 
she. And as she threw back her veil, her dear face met his 
view, smiling with celestial beauty. Trembling with love and 
the awe of approaching death, the knight stooped to give and 
receive the embrace. She kissed him with the holy kiss of 
Heaven ; bu.t she relaxed not her hold, pressing him more pas- 
sionately in her arms, and weeping as if she would weep away 
her soul. Tears rush^.d into the knight's eyes, while a thrill 
both of bliss and agony* shot through his heart, until he at last 
expired, sinking softly Da:k from her fair arms, and resting upon 
the pillow of his couch, a corse. 

" I have wept him to death !" said she to some domestics, 
who met her in the anti-chamber ; and passing through the ter- 
rified group, she went slowly out and disappeared in the 
fountain. 

* The expression of the original is, " lieblichen Wehe," ' a blissful agony,* 
or 'pang.'' This union of opposite qualities, however bold the conception 
producing it, and however suited to express the death-pang under such cir- 
cumstances, forms a curious felicity, rather too violent to be often admitted 
ill English. Plirases of tliis kind are more familiar in German. 



CHAP. XIX.] 



UNDINE. 



105 



CHAPTER XIX. 

How the Knight Huldbrand was buried. 

Father Heilmann had returned to the castle, as soon as the 
death of the lord of Ringstetten was made known in the neigh- 
bourhood ; and he arrived at the very hour when the monk, 
who had married the unfortunate couple, was hurrying from 
the door, overcome with dismay and horror. 

When father Heilmann was informed of this, he replied : 

It is all well ; and now come the duties of my office, in which 
I have no need of an assistant." 

He then began to console the bride, now become a widow, 
small as was the advantage her worldly and light-minded spirit 
derived from his kindness. 

The old fisherman, on the other hand, though severely afflict- 
ed, was far more resigned in regard to the fate of his son-in-law 
and the calamity of his daughter; and while Bertalda could 
not refrain from accusing Undine as a murderess and sorceress, 
the old man calmly said : " The event, after all, could not have 
happened otherwise. I see nothing in it but the judgment of 
God ; and no one, I am sure, could have his heart more pierced 
by the death of Huldbrand, than she who was obliged to ac- 
complish his doom, the poor forsaken Undine !" 

He then assisted in arranging the funeral solemnities, as 
suited the rank of the deceased. The knight was to be interred 
in a village church-yard, in whose consecrated ground were 
the graves of his ancestors : a place which they, as well as 
himself, had endowed with rich privileges and gifts. His shield 
and helmet lay upon his coffin, ready to be lowered with it into 
the grave, for lord Huldbrand of Ringstetten had died the last 
of his race ; the mourners began their sorrowful march, lift- 



106 



UNDINE. 



[chap. XIX 



ing the melancholy wail of their dirges amid the calm uncloud- 
ed heaven ; father Heilmann preceded the procession, bearing- a 
loftj crucifix, while Bertalda followed in her misery, supported 
by her aged father. 

While proceeding in this manner, they suddenly saw, in the 
midst of the dark-habited mourning females in ths widow's 
train, a snow-white figure, closely veiled, and wringing its 
hands in the wild vehemence of sorrow. Those next to whorr. 
it moved, seized with a secret dread, started back or on one 
side ; and owing to their movements, the others, next to whom 
the white stranger now came, were terrified still more, so as to 
produce almost a complete disarrangement of the funeral train. 
Some of the military escort ventured to address the figure, and 
attempt to remove it from the procession, but it seemed to 
vanish from under their hands, and yet was immediately seen 
advancing again, with slow and solemn step, among the follow- 
ers of the body. At last, in consequence of the shrinking away 
of the attendants, it came close behind Bertalda. It now 
moved so slowly, that the widow was not aware of its presence^ 
and it walked meekly on behind, neither suffering nor creating 
disturbance. 

This continued until they came to the church-yard, where 
the procession formed a circle round the open grave. Then it 
was that Bertalda perceived her unbidden companion, and 
prompted half by anger and half by terror, she commanded her 
to depart from the knight's place of final rest. But the veiled 
female, shaking her head with a gentle refusal, raised her hands 
toward Bsrtalda, in lowly supplication, by which she was great- 
ly moved, and could not but remember with tears, how Undine 
had shown such sweetness of spirit on the Danube, when she 
held out to her the coral necklace. 

Father Heilmann now motioned with his hand, and gave 
order for all to observe perfect stillness, that over the body, 
whose mound was well-nigh formed, they might breathe a prayer 
of silent devotion. Bertalda knelt without speaking ; and all 
knelt, even the grave diggers who had now finished their work 



CHAP. XIX ] 



UNDINE. 



107 



But when they rose from this breathing of the heart, the white 
stranger had disappeared. On the spot where she had kneeled, 
a little spring, of silver brightness, was gushing out from the 
green turf, and it kept swelling and flowing onward with a low 
murmur, till it almost encircled the mound of the knight's 
grave ; it then continued its course, and emptied itself into a 
calm lake, which lay by the side of the consecrated ground. 
Even to this day, the inhabitants of the village point out the 
spring ; — ^and they cannot but cherish the belief, that it is the 
poor deserted Undine, who in this manner still fondly encircles 
her beloved in her arms. 



SnU OF UNDINB. 



SINTMM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

A NORTHERN TALE. 

FROM THE GERMAN OF THE 

BARON DE LA MOTTE FOUaUE. 

[Republished fiv^m Burns' London Edition. \ 



CONTENTS. 



SINTRAM, AND HIS COMPANIONS. 

Page 

Notice ok Sintuam . . . . . . , . .111 

CiiAP. 1 113 

II . . 117 

HI. . . , . . 123 

IV. . , . . m 

v. . 13i 

VI. . . . . 135 

VII ... . V . . . . . 141 

VIII. . 146 

IX. . .152 

X , ... 157 

XI 162 

XII. . . . .166 

XIII. ... ... 170 

XIV. . , o . 174 

XV ... 178 

XVI 180 

XVII 184 

XVIII 190 

XIX 193 

XX. 196 

XXI 201 

XXII • 204 

XXIIL . • 206 

XXIV 214 

XXV 217 

XXVI 223 

XXVII , 226 

XXVIII ... 231 

XXIX .235 

XXX U31 



NOTICE OF SINTRAM. 



FROM THE author's PREFACE TO IHS SELECTED WOP.KS. 



" FoLKO of Montfaufon was and is peculiarly endeared to my heart 
as a true type of that old French chivalric glory which now on'y 
emerges in individual appearances, for instance, beautifully, in tlie 
Vendean wars, which, though failing in victory, were rich in honors. 
With these feelings, the poet could not forbear from arraying hirri 
in the colours of his own escutcheon, and assigning to him the 
emblems of the same, and even in some measure denoting him by 
his own ancestral name; for Foulque we were called in old times, 
which was probably derived, according to our Norman descent, 
from the Northlandish name Folko, or Fulko ; and a castle ' Mont- 
faufon' was among our ancient possessions. But here that only 
properly concerns the nobie pair, Folko and Gabrielle, as interwo- 
ven in the tale of ' Sintram.' The tale itself is the offspring 
of my own fantasy, immediately suggested by Albrecht Durer's 
admirable wood cut of 'The Knight, Deaili and Satan,' the birth- 
day gift of a former friend, with the happy proposal that I should 
frame from it a romance or a ballad. It became more than this ; 
and the present tale shows it to be so, being supported by divers 
traditions, in part derived to me orally, of the Germanic northern 
customs in war and festivity, and in many other relationships 
beside. The legend indicated at the conclusion of the informa- 
tion respecting Sintram, of the terrific stories of the north, trans- 
formed into southern splendour and mirthful dreams, would real- 
ly then have been executed, and arose more clearly from the fan- 
tastic tones of a congenial harpsichord-player, who accidental- 
ly met the poet. Partly, however, other avocations, partly inter- 
rupiions from without, have hitherto driven tlie project into the 
back ground. But it still lives within me; and now again, from the 
powerful, and yet child-like harmonies of the Northman Ole Bull, 



PREFACE. 



seems to stir more vigorously and brightly than before. Who knows 
what yet may happen ? Meanwhile here gushes from me a song 
of salutation to one who, honoured by me as master, is not less 
dear to me as a man : — 

Profoundly dreamt a youth on Norland waste ; 
But no — it is not waste where fairy rings 
Reflect the past as well as future things, 
When love and woe in boding tones are drest. 

They greeted him, they kissed him, and retreated ; 
They left for him an instrument of sound, 
Whose forceful strings with highest deeds could bound, 
And yet with childish frolics be entreated. 

He wakes — the gift he seizes, comprehending 
Its sweet mysterious pleasure how to prove, 
And pours it forth in pure harmonious blending. 

O raay'st thou, ever victor, joyful move, 

Thou Northland sailor, on life's voyage wending, 

Conscious of God within thee and above." 

FoCdUB. 



SINTEAM AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



CHAPTER I. 

In the Castle of Drontheim there were many knights assembled 
to hold council on the affairs of the kingdom ; and after their 
debate, they remained till past midnight carousing together 
around the huge stone table in the vaulted hall. A rising storm 
drove the snow wildly against the rattling windows, all the 
thick oak doors groaned, the massive locks shook, the castle 
clock slowly and heavily struck the hour of one. 

At that instant a boy, pale as death, with disordered hair and 
closed eyes, rushed into the hall, uttering a wild scream of ter- 
ror. He stopped behind the richly-carved seat of the mighty 
Biorn, clung to the knight with both his hands, and shrieked in 
a piercing voice, " My knightly father ! Death and another are 
closely pursuing me." 

An awful stillness reigned suddenly in the whole assembly, 
broken only by the agonized shrieks of the boy. But one of 
Biorn's numerous retainers, an old esquire, known by the name 
of Rolf the Good, advanced towards the terrified child, took him 
in his arms, and half chanted this prayer : " Oh, Father ! help 
Thy servant ! I believe, and yet I cannot believe." The boy, 
as if in a dream, at once loosened his hold of the knight ; and 
the good Rolf bore him from the hall unresisting, yet still shed- 
ding hot tears, and murmuring confused sounds. 

The lords and knights looked at one anothd* in mute amaze- 
ment, until the mighty Biorn said, in a fierce but scornfully- 
deriding tone, " Do not suffer yourselves to be disturbed by 
9 



114 



SIXTRAM, 



[chap. I. 



the appearance of that strange being. He is my only son • 
and has been in this state since he was'- five years old : he 
is now twelve. I am, therefore, accustomed to see him so, 
though, at the first, I too was disquieted by it. The attack 
comes upon him only once in the year, and always at this same 
time. But forgive me for having spent so many words on my 
poor Sintram, and let us pass on to some worthier subject for 
our discourse." 

Again there wlis silence during some minutes. Then a scli- 
tary voice began here and there to attempt renewing their for- 
mer (ionversation, but without success. Two of the youngest and 
most joyous spirits began a drinking song ; but the storm howled 
and raged so wildly without, that their mirth was soon checked. 
And now they all sat silent and motionless in the lofty hall ; 
the lamp flickered under the vaulted roof; the whole party of 
knights looked like pale, lifeless images, dressed up in gigan- 
tic armour. 

Then arose the chaplain of the castle of Drontheim, the only 
priest among the knightly throng, and said, " Sir Biorn, our 
eyes and thoughts have all been directed to you and your son 
in a wonderful manner ; but so it has been ordered by the pro- 
vidence of God. You perceive that we cannot withdraw them, 
and you would do well to tell us exactly what you know con- 
cerning the fearful state in which we have seen your boy. Per- 
chance, such a solemn narration, as I look forward to, might be 
of much use to our disturbed minds." , 

Biorn cast a look of displeasure on the priest, and answered, 
" You are more concerned in the history, than either you or I 
could desire. Excuse me, if I am unwilling to trouble these 
light-hearted warriors with such a nieful tale." 

But the chaplain approached nearer to the knight, and said, 
in a firm yet very mild tone, " Sir knight, up to this moment 
it rested with you to relate, or not to relate it : but now that 
you have so strangely hinted at the share which I have had in 
your son's calamity, I must positively request that you will re- 
peat word for word now every thing came to pass. My 



CHAP. J.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



11a 



honour demands such an explanation, and that will weigh with 
you as much as with me." 

In stern compliance, Biorn bowed his haughty head, and be- 
gan the following narration : — " This time seven years, I was 
keeping- the Christmas-feast with my assembled followers. We 
have many venerable old customs which have descended to us 
by inheritance from our forefathers; as, for instance, that of 
placing- a gilded boar's head on the table, and making thereon 
knightly vows of daring and wondrous deeds. Our chaplain 
there, who in those days used frequently to visit me, was never 
a friend to keeping up such traditions of the ancient heathen 
world. Men of his sort were not much in favour in those olden 
times." 

" My excellent predecessors," interrupted the chaplain, " were 
infinitely more concerned in obtaining the favour of God, than 
that of the world, and they were not unsuccessful in their aim. 
By that means they converted your ancestors ; and if I can in 
like manner be of service to you, even your jeering will not 
vex me." 

With looks yet darker, and an involuntary shudder, the 
knight resumed : " Yes, yes ; I know all your promises and 
threats concerning an invisible Power ; and how they are meant 
to persuade us to part more readily with whatever of this world's 
goods we may possess. There was a time when such belonged 
to me ! Occasionally a strange fancy seizes me, and I feel as 
if ages had passed over since then, and as if I were alone the 
survivor, so fearfully is every thing changed. But now I recall 
to my mind, that the greater part of this noble company knew 
me in my days of happiness, and have seen my wife, my lovely- 
Verena." 

He pressed his hands on his eyes, and many thought that he 
wept. The tempest was now lulled ; the soft light of the moon 
shone through the windows, and her beams played on his wi-d 
features. Suddenly he started up, so that his heavy armour 
rattled with a fearful sound, and he cried out in a thundering 
voice, "Shall I turn monk, because she has become a n n? 



116 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. I. 



No, crafty priest ; your webs are too thin to catch flies of my 
sort." 

" I have nothing to do with webs," said the chaplain. "In all 
openness and sincerity have I put heaven and hell before you 
during the space of six years; and you gave full consent to 
the step which the holy Verena took. But what all that has to 
do with your son's sufferings, I have yet to learn ; and I wait 
for your further narration." 

" You may wait long enough for that," said Biorn, with a 
sneer, " Sooner shall " 

" Swear not !" said the chaplain in a loud commanding tone ; 
and his eyes flashed almost fearfully. 

" Hurra !" cried Biorn in wild affright ; " Hurra ! Death and 
his companion are let loose !" and he dashed madly out of the 
chamber, and down the steps. The loud wild notes of his horn 
were heard summoning his retainers, and presently afterwards 
the clatter of horses' feet on the frozen court-yard gave token 
of their departure. 

The knights retired, silent and shuddering ; while the chap- 
lain remained alone at the huge stone table, engaged in earnest 
wayer. 



.CHAP. 1. J AND HIS COMPANIONS. 117 



CHAPTER II. 

After some time had elapsed, the good Rolf returned with slow 
and soft steps, and started with surprise at finiing the hall de- 
serted. The chamber where he had been occupied in quieting* 
and soothing the unhappy child, was in so distant a pnrt of the 
castle Jiat he had heard nothing of the knight's hasty departure. 
The chaplain related to him all that had passed, and then said : 
" But my good Rolf, I much wish to ask you concerning those 
strange words, with which you seemed to lull poor Sintram to 
rest. They sounded like sacred words, and no doubt they are, 
but I could not understand them. * I believe, and yet I cannot 
believe.' " 

" Reverend Sir," answered Rolf, " I remember that from my 
earliest years no history in the Gospels has taken such hold of 
me, as that of the child possessed with a devil, which the disciples 
were not able to cast out ; but when our Saviour came down 
from the mountain where he had been transfigured. He broke 
the bonds wherewith the evil spirit had held the miserable child 
bound. I always felt as if I must have known and loved that 
boy, and been his playfellow in his happy days : and when I 
grew older, then the distress of the father on account of his 
lunatic son laid heavy at my heart. It must surely have all 
been a foreboding of the wretched state of our young lord, whom 
I love as if he were my own child ; and now the words of the ^ 
weeping father in the Gospel often come into my mind, ' I be- 
lieve, Lord, help Thou mine unbelief ;' and something of the 
sort I may very likely have repeated to-day, as a chant or a 
prayer. Reverend Father, when I reflect how one dreadful 
imprecation of the father has kept its withering hold on the son, 
nil seems dark before me ; but, God be praised ! faith and hope 
again bring light into my mind." 



118 



SINTRAM, 



" Good Rolf," said the priest, " I cannot clearly understand 
what you say about the unhappy Sintram ; for I do not know 
when and how this affliction came upon him. If nc oath or 
solemn promise binds you to secresy, will you make known to 
me all that is connected with it." 

" Most willingly," replied Rolf. "I have long desired to 
have an opportunity of so doing ; but you have been almost 
always separated from us. I dare not now leave the sleeping 
boy any longer alone, and to-morrow, at the earliest dawn, I 
must take him to his father. Will you come with me to our 
poor Sintram's room ?" 

The chaplain at once took up the small lamp which Rolf 
had brought with him, and they set off together along the 
vaulted passage. When they reached the distant chamber, 
they found the suffering child fast asleep. As the light of the 
lamp fell on his countenance, it showed his ashy paleness. 
The chaplain stood gazing at him for some time, and at length 
said 

Certainly from his birth his features were always sharp and 
strongly-marked, but now they are almost fearfully so for such 
a child. And yet, in spite of the strange expression they give, 
I cannot help having a kindly feeling towards him, whether I 
will or not." 

" Most true, dear SIb," answered Rolf And it was evident 
how his whole heart rejoiced at any words which betokened af- 
fection or compassion for his beloved young lord. He pro- 
ceeded to place the lamp where its light could not disturb the 
sleeping child, and seating himself close by the priest, he began 
to speak in the following terms : 

During that Christmas-feast of which my lord was talking 
to you, he and his followers discoursed much concerning the 
German merchants, and the Idlest means of keeping down the 
increasing pride and power of the larger trading-towns. At 
length Biorn laid his impious hand on the golden boar's head, 
and swore to put to death without mercy every German trader 
whom late, in what way soever, might bring alive into bis 



CHAP. II.J 



AND Ills COMPANIONS. 



119 



power. The gentle Verena turned pale, and would have inter- 
posed — but it was too late, the fearful word was uttered. And 
immediately afterwards, as though the great Enemy of souls 
were determined at once to secure with fresh bonds the wretched 
being who was thus devoted to him, a warder came into the 
hall to announce that two citizens of a trading-town in Ger- 
many, an old man and his son, had been shipwrecked on this 
coast, and were now without the gates, asking hospitality of the 
^ord of the castle. The knight could not refrain from shudder- 
ing ; but he thought himself bound by his rash vow, and by 
that accursed remnant of heathenism. We, his retainers, were 
commanded to assemble in the castle-yard^ armed with sharp 
spears, which were to be hurled at the defenceless strangers at 
the first signal made to us. For the first, and I trust the 
last time in my life, I refused to obey the commands of my 
lord ; my refusal was uttered in a loud voice, and with the 
firmest determination. The Almighty, who alone knows whom 
He will accept, and whom He will reject, gave me at that mo- 
ment the strength and resolution I needed. And Biorn might 
perceive whence the refusal of his faithful old servant arose, and 
that it was worthy of respect. . He said to me, half in anger 
and half in scorn : * Go up to my wife's apartments : her at- 
tendants are running to and fro, perhaps she is ill. Go up, 
Rolf the Good, and remain with the women, who seem the fittest 
company for you.' I thought to myself, ' Jest on ;' but I went 
silently the way that he had pointed out to me. On the stairs 
I was met by two strange and very awful-looking beings, whom 
I had never seen before ; and I am still at a loss to think how 
they got into the castle. One of them was a great, tall man, 
frightfully pallid and thin ; the other was a dwarf-like man, 
with a most hideous countenance and features. Indeed, when 
I collected my thoughts and looked carefully at him, it appeared 
to me " 

Low meanings, and convulsive movements of the boy, here 
interrupted the narrative. Rolf and the chaplain hastened to 
his bed-side, and perceived that his countenance wore an ex- 



120 



SINTRAM, 



""chap, II. 



pression of fearful agony, and that he was struggling in vain to 
open his eyes. The priest made the sign of the Cross over him, 
and immediately peace seemed to be restored, and his sleep 
again became calm and quiet : they both returned softly to their 
seats. 

" You see," said Rolf, " that it will not do to attempt a more 
precise description of those two awful beings. Suffice it to say, 
that they went doAvn into the court-yard, and that I proceeded 
to my lady's apartments. I found the gentle Verena almost 
fainting with terror and overwhelming anxiety, and I hastened 
to restore her with some of those remedies which the knowledge 
God has given me of the healing virtues of many herbs and 
minerals enabled me to apply. But scarcely had she recovered 
her senses, when, with that air of calm resolve which you know 
belongs to her, she desired me to conduct her down to the court- 
yard, saying that she must either put a stop to the fearful doings 
of this night, or herself fall a sacrifice. Our way took us by 
the little bed of the sleeping Sintram. Alas ! I cannot keep 
from tears when I think how evenly his gentle breath then 
came and went, and how sweetly he smiled in his peaceful 
slumbers." 

The old man put his hands to his eyes, and wept bitterly ; 
but soon he resumed his sad story. " As we approached the 
lowest window of the staircase, we could hear distinctly, the 
voice of the elder merchant, and on looking out, the light of the 
torches shewed me his noble features, as well as the bright 
youthful countenance of hi^ son. " I take Almighty God to 
witness,' cried he, ' that > had no evil thought against this 
house! But surely I musi have fallen unawares amongst 
heathens ; it cannot be that I am in a Christian knight's castle : 
and if you are indeed heathens, then kill us at once. And you, 
my beloved son, be patient and of good courage ; in heaven we 
shall learn why it was ordained that we should meet our fate 
here without one chance of escape.' I thought I could sec 
those two fearful ones amidst the throng of armed retainers 
The pale one had a huge curved sword in his hand, the little 



CHAP. 



AND HIS COMPA.NTONS. 



121 



one held a spear notched in a strange fashion. Verena tore 
open the window, and the silvery tones of her voice were heard 
above the storm of that wild night, as she cried out — ' My dear- 
est lord and husband, for the sake of your only child, have pity 
on those harmless men ! Save them from a bloody death, and 
resist the temptation of the -Evil Spirit.' The knight answered 
in his fierce wrath — but I cannot repeat his words. He staked 
his child on the desperate cast ; he called death and the devil 
to see that he kept his word : — but, hush ! the boy is again 
moaning. Let me bring the dark tale quickly to a close. Biorn 
conmianded his followers to strike, casting on them those fierce 
looks which have gained him the title of Biorn of the Fiery 
Eyes ; while at the same time the two frightful strangers seemed 
to bestir themselves in the crowd with more activity than before. 
Then Verena called out, in the extremity of her anguish, ' Help, 
O God, my Saviour !' Those two dreadful figures disappeared, 
and the knight and his re'tainers, as if seized with blindness, 
rushed wildly one against ^^e other, but without doing injury 
to themselves, or y.el succeeding in striking the merchants, Avho 
had so nearly fallen victims to Biorn's savage cruelty. They 
bowed reverently towards Verena, and with calm thanksgivings 
departed through the castle gates, which at that moment had 
been burst open by a violent gust of wind, and now gave a free 
passage to any who would go forth. The lady and I were yet 
standing bewildered on the stairs, when I fancied I saw the two 
fearful forms glide close by me, but there was such a cloudy, 
unreal look about them, that I doubted, till Verena called to 
me : ' Rolf, did you see a tall pale man, and a little hideous 
one w4th him, pass just now up the staircase V I flew after 
them ; but, alas ! when I reached the poor boy's room, I found 
him already in the same state in which you saw him a few 
hours ago. Ever since, the attack has come on him regularly 
at this time, and he is in all respects fearfully changed. The 
lady of the castle did not fail to discern the avenging hand of 
Heaven in this calamity ; and as the knight, her husband, in- 
stead of shewing signs of repentance, added each day to the 



122 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. n. 



number of his -vrlolent deeds, she resolved to take refuge in a 
cloister ; and there, by unremitting prayer, to obtain mercy in 
time and eternity for herself and her unhappy child." 

Rolf was silent ; and the chaplain said, after some moments' 
reflection : " I now understand why, six years ago, Biorn con- 
fessed his guilt to me in general terms, and consented that his 
wife should take the veil. Some faint compunction must then 
have stirred within him, and perhaps the traces of it may yet 
exist. Anyhow it was impossible that so tender a flower as 
Verena could remain longer in such rough keeping. But who 
is there now to watch over and protect our poor Sintram ?" 

" The prayers of his mother are his safeguard," answered 
Rolf. " Reverend Sir, when the- first dawn of day appears, as it 
does now, and when the morning breeze plays lightly around, 
they always bring to my mind the soft-beaming eyes of my 
lady, and I again seem to hear the sweet tones of her voice. 
The holy Verena is, next to God, our chief aid." 

" And let us add our devout supplications to the Lord," said 
the chaplain : and he and Rolf knelt in silent and earnest pray- 
er by the bed of the pale sufferer, who soon began to smile aa 
he lay still dreaming. 



CHAP nr. 



AND IIIS COMPANIONS. 123 



CHAPTER III. 

The rays of the sun shining brightly into the room, awoke Sin- 
tram, and raising himself up, he looked angrily at the chap- 
lain, and said : " So there is a priest in the castle ! And yet 
that accursed dream. continues to torment me even in his very 
presence ! A pretty sort of Priest he must be !" 

" My child," answered the chaplain in the mildest tone, " I 
have prayed for you most fervently, and I shall never cease 
doing so — but God alone is Almighty." 

" You speak very impertinently to the son of the great 
knight, Biorn," cried Sintram. " ' My child !' indeed ! If those 
horrible dreams had not been again haunting me, you would 
make me laugh heartily." 

" My young lord," said the chaplain, " I am by no means 
surprised that you should not recognize me, for i<i truth 
neither should I know you again." And his eyes filled with 
tears as he spoke. 

The good Rolf looked sorrowfully in the boy's face, saying, 
" Ah ! my dear young master, you are so much better than you 
would make people believe. Why did you speak in that way 1 
Your memory is so good, that you must surely recollect your 
kind old friend the chaplain, who used formerly to be constant- 
ly at the castle, and to bring you so many presents — bright co- 
loured pictures of saints, and beautiful songs ?" 

" I know all that very well," replied Sintram thoughtfully, 
" My blessed mother was alive in those days." 

" Our gracious lady is still living, God be praised !" said 
the good Rolf 

" But she does not live for us, poor sick creatures that we 
are !•' cried Sintram. " And why will you not call her bless- 
ed? Surely she knows nothing about my dreams?" 



124 



SINTRAM 



[chap, hi 



" Yes, she does know of them," said the chaplain, " and she 
prays to God on your behalf. But take heed, and restrain that 
wild, haughty temper of your's. It might, indeed, come to pass 
that she no longer knew anything about your dreams, and that 
would be if you were to die ; and then the holy angels would 
also cease to know any thing of you." 

Sintram fell back on his bed as if thunderstruck : and Rolf 
said with a gentle sigh, " You should not speak so severely to 
my poor sick child. Reverend Sir." 

The boy again sat up, and with streaming eyes he turned to- 
wards the chaplain, saying in a kind and gentle tone : " Let 
him do as he pleases, you good tender-hearted Rolf; he knows 
very well what he is about. Would you reprove him if I were 
slipping down a rocky precipice, and he were to catch me 
roughly by the hair of my head in order to save me ?" 

The priest looked at him with emotion, and was about to 
give utterance to some kind expression, when Sintram suddenly 
sprang off the bed and asked after his father. As soon as he 
heard of the knight's departure, he would not remain another 
hour in the castle ; and when both the chaplain and the old 
esquire expressed their fears lest a rapid journey should be 
hurtful to him before he had shaken off the effects of his late at- 
tack, he said to them : " Believe me. Reverend Sir, and good 
old Rolf, if I were not subject to these hideous di'eams, there 
would not be a bolder youth in the whole world ; and even as 
it is, I am not so far behind the very best. Besides, till an- 
other year has passed, there is no fear of my dreams again 
troubling me," 

Rolf obeyed a somewhat imperious sign from his young mas- 
ter, and went to prepare the horses. No sooner were they 
brought out, than the boy threw himself unto his saddle, and 
taking a courteous leave of the chaplain, he dashed along the 
frozen valley that lay between the snow-clad mountains. He 
had not ridden far, in company with his old attendant, when ho 
heard a strange indistinct sound proceeding from a neighbour 
ing cleft in the ro:k • it was partly like the clapper of a smal 



o.iAP. iii.J AND HIS COMPANIONS. 1J5 



miM, but mingled with that were hollow groans, and other 
tones of distress. They directed their horses towards the place 
whence the sounds came, and a wonderful sight presented itself 
before them. 

A tall man, deadly pale, in a pilgrim's garb, was striving 
with violent though unsuccessful efforts, to work his way out of 
the snow, and to get up the mountain ; and at each exertion 
which he made, a quantity of bones, which were hanging 
loosely all about his garments, rattled one against the other, 
and caused the mysterious sound already mentioned. Rolf, 
much terrified, crossed himself, while the bold Sintram called 
out to the stranger, " What art thou doing there ? Give an 
account of thy solitary labours." 

" I live in death," replied that other one vdth a fearful grin. 

" Whose are those bones which hang about thee ?" 

" They are relics, young Sir." 

" Art thou a pilgrim ?" 

" I have no rest, no quiet ; I go up and down the land." 
" Thou must not perish here in the snow before my eyes." 
« That I will not." 

" Thou must come up and sit on my horse." 
« That I will do." 

And all at once he started up out of the snow with surprising 
strength and agility, and sprang on the horse behind Sintram, 
clasping him tight in his long arms. The animal, startled by 
the rattling of the bones, and as if seized with madness, rushed 
away through the most trackless passes. The boy soon found 
himself alone with his strange companion ; for Rolf, breathless 
with fear, spurred on his horse in vain, and remained far be- 
hind them. After slipping down the steep mountain side, which 
was entirely covered with snow, into a narrow defile, the horse 
seemed somewhat to slacken his pace, but yet continued to 
snort and foam as before, and could not be controlled. Still, 
his headlong course being now changed into a rough irregular 
trot, Sintram was able to breathe more freely, and to begin the 
following discourse with his unknown companion. 



126 



SINTRAM, 



[cHaP. 111. 



" Draw thy garment closer round thee, thou pale man : the 
bones will then rattle less, and I shall be able to curb my 
horse." 

" It would be of no avail, boy ; it would be of no avail. The 
bones must rattle." 

D : not clasp me so tight with thy long arms, they are so 
cold." 

" It cannot be helped, boy ; it cannot be helped. Be con- 
tent. For my long cold arms are not pressing yet on thy 
heart." 

" Do not breathe on me so with thy icy breath. All my 
strength is departing." 

" I must breathe, boy ; I must breathe. But do not com- 
plain. I am not blowing thee away." 

The strange dialogue here came to an end ; for to Sintram's 
surprise, he found himself on an open plain, over which the sun 
was shining brightly, and at no great distance before him he 
descried his father's castle. While he was doubting as to 
whether he might invite the unearthly pilgrim to rest there, this 
one put an end to his hesitation by throwing himself suddenly 
off the horse, whose wild course was checked by the shock. 
Raising his fore-finger, he said to the boy : 

" I know old Biorn of the Fiery Eyes well : perhaps but too 
well. Commend me to him. It will not need to tell him my 
n-amo ; he will recognize me by the description you can give of 
me." So saying, the ghastly stranger turned aside into a thick 
firwood, and disappeared amongst the tangled branches. 

Slowly and thoughtfully Sintram rode on towards his father's 
castle, his horse being now again quiet and almost exhausted. 
He scarcely knew how much he ought to relate of his wonder- 
ful adventure, and he also felt oppressed with anxiety for the 
good Rolf, who had remained so far behind. He found himself 
at the castle-gate sooner than he had expected ; the drawbridge 
was lowered, the doors were thrown open ; an attendant led the 
youth into the great hall, where Biorn was sitting all alone at 
a huge table, with many flagons and glasses before him, and 



CHAP. III.] AND HIS COMPANIONS. la? 

suits of armour ranged on either side of him. It was his daily 
custom, by way of company, to have the armour of his ances- 
tors, with closed vizors, placed all round the table at which ho 
sat. The father and son began conversing as follows : 
" Where is Rolf?" 

" I do not know, father : I lost sight of him in the mo un 
tains." 

" I will have Rolf shot, if he cannot take better care than that 
of my only child." 

" Then, father, you will have your only child shot at the 
same time, for without Rolf I cannot live ; and if even one sin- 
gle dart is aimed at him, I will be there to receive it, and to 
shield his true and faithful heart." 

" Is it so ? — Then Rolf shall not be shot, but he shall be 
driven from the castle." 

" In that case, father, you will see me go away also ; and 
I will give myself up to serve him in forests, in mountains, in 
caves." 

" Is it so ? — Well, then, Rolf must remain here." 
" That is just what I think, father." 
" Were you riding quite alone ?" 

" No, father ; but with a strange pilgrim : he said that he 
knew you very well — perhaps, too well." And thereupon Sin- 
tram began to relate and to describe all that had passed with 
the pale man. 

" I know him also very weli," said Biorn. " He is half 
crazed and half-wise, as we sometimes are astonished at seeing 
that people can be. But do you, my boy, go to rest after your 
wild journey. I give you my word that Rolf shall be kindly 
received if he arrives here ; and that if he does not come soon 
he shall be sought for in the mountains." 

" I trust to your word, father." said Sintram, with a mijcture 
of pride and humility in his tone ; and he proceeded to obey 
the command of the grim lord of the castle. 



128 



SINTRAM, 



CHAPTER IV. 

It was getting towards evening when Sintram awoke. He saw 
the good Rolf sitting at his bedside, and looked up in the old 
man's kind face with a smile of unusual innocent brightness. 
But soon again his dark brows were knii^ and he asked : " Hoav 
did my father receive you, Rolf? Did he say a harsh word to 
you 

" No, my dear young lord, he did not — indeed, he did not 
speak to me at all. At first he looked very wrathful ; but he 
controlled himself, and ordered a servant to bring me food and 
wine to refresh me, and afterwards to take me to your room.'' 

" He might have kept his word better. But he is my father, 
and I must not judge him too severely. I wiD now go down to 
the evening meal." So saying, he sprang up and threw on 
his furred mantle. But Rolf stopped him, and said in a tone 
of entreaty : " My dear young master, you would do better to 
take your meal to-day alone here in your own apartment. For 
there is a guest with your father, in whose company I should 
be very sorry to see you. If you will remain here I will en^ 
tertain you with pleasant tales and songs." 

" There is nothing in th.e world which I should like better, 
dear Rolf,'.' answered Sintram, " but it does not befit m.e to 
shun the company of any man. Tell me, whom should I find 
with my father ?" 

" Alas !" said the old man, " you have already found him in 
the mountain. Formerly, when I used to ride about the coun- 
try with Biorn, we often met with him, but I was forbidden to 
tell you any thing about him ; and this is the first time that he 
has ever come to the castle." 

" Oh ! the crazy pilgrim !" replied Sintram ; and he stood 
some moments buried in thought, and apparently weighing the 



CHAP. IV.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



129 



whole matter in his mind. At last rousing himself he said : 
" Dear old friend, I would most willingly stay here with you 
this evening and listen to your stories and songs, and all the 
pilgrims in the world should not make me leave this quiet room. 
But one thing must be considered. I feel a kind of dread of 
that pale, tall man, and by such fears no true knight's son car 
ever suffer himself to be overcome. So do not be angry, dear 
Rolf, if I determine to go and look that strange Palmer in the 
face." And he shut the door of the chamber behind him, and 
with firm and echoing steps proceeded to the hall. 

The pilgrim and the knight w^ere sitting opposite to each 
other at the great table, on which many lights were burning ; 
and it was fearful, amongst all the lifeless armour, to see those 
two tall grim men move, and eat, and drink. As the pilgrim 
looked up on the boy's entrance, Biorn said : " You know him 
already: he is my only child, and your fellow-traveller this 
morning." The Palmer fixed an earnest look on Sintram, and 
answered, shaking his head : " I do not know what you mean," 
Then the boy burst forth impatiently : " It must be confessed 
that you deal very unfairly by us ! You say that you know my 
father but too well, and now it appears that you do not know 
me at all. Who allowed you to ride on his horse, and in return 
had his good steed driven almost wild? Answer if you can!" 

Biorn put on a somewhat displeased look, but was in truth 
delighted at any such outbreak of his son's unruly temper; 
while the pilgrim shuddered as if terrified and overcome by 
some secret irresistible power. At length with a trembling 
voice he said these words : " Yes, yes, my dear young lord, 
you are surely quite right ; you are perfectly right in every 
thing which you may please to assert." 

Then the lord of the castle laughed aloud, and said: " Why, 
you strange pilgrim, what is become of all your wonderfully 
fine speeches and warnings now? Has the boy all at once 
struck you dumb and powerless ? Beware, you prophet mes' 
senger, beware !" But the Palmer cast a fearful look on Biorn, 
which seemed to quench the light of his fiery eyes, and said in 
10 



130 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. IV. 



thundering accents : " Between me and thee, old man, the case 
stands quite otherwise. We have nothing to reproach each 
other with. And now suffer me to sing a song to you on the 
lute." He stretched out his hand, and took down from the 
wall an old worn out lute which was hanging there, and hav- 
ing with surprising skill and rapidity put it in a state fk to he 
used, he struck some chords, and the low melancholy tones of the 
instrument seemed well adapted to the words he hegan to sing • 

« The flow'ret was mine own, mine own, 
But I have lost its fragrance rare. 
And knightly name and freedom fair, 
Thro' sin, thro' sin alone. 

The flow'ret was thine own, thine own, 
Why cast away what thou didst win ? 
Thou knight no more, but slave of sin, 
Thou'rt fearfully alone !" 

" Have a care !" shouted he at the close in a pealing voice, 
as he pulled the strings with such tremendous force that they 
all broke, and a cloud of dust rose from the instrument, which 
spread round him like a mist. Sintram had been watching 
him narrowly whilst he was singing, and more and more did he 
feel convinced that it was impossible that this man and his fel- 
low-traveller of the morning could be one and the same person. 
Every doubt was removed when the stranger again looked 
round at him with the same timid, anxious air, and with many 
excuses and low reverences replaced the lute in its former posi- 
tion, and then ran out of the hall as if bewildered with terror; 
his manner forming a strange contrast with the proud and stately 
deportment which he had assumed towards Biorn. 

The eyes of the boy were now directed to his father, and he 
perceived that he had sunk back senseless in his seat, as though 
he had been struck by a sudden blow. Sintram's cries sum- 
moned Rolf and other attendants, but it was only by their united 
exertions that they succeeded in restoring their lord to anima- 
tion ; his looks were still wild and disordered, but he suffered 
himself to be taken to i«st without making any opposition. 



cjiAf. v] AND lUti COM PAN ION 131 



CHAPTER V. 

A LONG \ilness followed this sudden attack, and during the 
course of it, the stout old knight, in the midst of his delirious 
ravings, did not cease to affirm confidently that he must and 
should recover at last. He would laugh proudly when his 
fever fits came on, and rebuke them for daring to attack him so 
needlessly. Then he would murmur to himself: " That was 
not the right one yet ; there must still be another one out in the 
cold mountains." 

At such expressions Sintram involuntarily shuddered ; they 
seemed to confirm his idea that the being who had ridden with 
him, and he who had sat at table in the castle, were two quite 
distinct persons : and he knew not why, but this thought was 
an inexpressibly awful one to him. 

Biorn recovered, and appeared to have entirely forgotten his 
adventure with the Palmer. He hunted in the mountains, he 
carried on his usual wild warfare with his neighbours, and 
Sintram became his almost constant companion ; whereby each 
year the youth acquired a fearful increase of strength of body, 
with an equal fierceness of spirit. Every one trembled at the 
sight of his sharp pallid features, his dark rolling eyes, his tall, 
muscular, and somewhat lean form, — and yet no one hated him, 
not even those whom he distressed or injured to gratify his 
wildest humours. This might arise in part out of regard to old 
Rolf, who seldom left him for long, and who always held a 
softening influence over him ; but also many of those who had 
known the Lady Verena before she retired from the world, 
affirmed that a faint reflection of the heavenly expression which 
had lighted up her features, could often be ti'aced in those of 
her son, however unKke they might be in form, — and that by 
this their hearts were won, 



132 SINTRAM, 

Once, just at the beginning of spring, Biorn and his son were 
hunting in the neighbourhood of the sea coast, over a tract 
of country which did not belong to them ; drawn thither less by 
the love of sport than by the wish of bidding defiance to a chief- 
tain whom they detested, and thus exciting a feud. At that 
season of the year, when his winter dreams had just passed off, 
Sintram was always unusually fierce, and disposed for warlike 
adventures, — and this day he was enraged at the chieftain for 
not coming forth from his castle to attack the intruders with 
armed force, and he cursed the cowardly patience and love of 
peace whieL kept his enemy thus quiet. Just then one of his 
wild companions rushed towards him, shouting joyfully : " Be 
content, my dear young lord ! I will wager that all is coming 
about as we and you wish ; for as I was pursuing a wounded 
deer down to the sea-shore, I perceived a sail in sight, and a 
vessel filkd with armed men making for the shore. Doubtless 
your enemy is intending to take you by surprise by coming in 
this way." 

Sintram, full of joy at the news, called his followers together 
as secretly as possible, being resolved this time to take on him- 
self alone the whole direction of the engagement which was 
likely to follow ; and then to rejoin his father, and astonish him 
with the sight of captured foes, and other tokens of victory. 

The hunters, thoroughly acquainted with every cliff and rock, 
concealed themselves near the landing-place, and soon the strange 
vessel was seen approaching nearer and nearer, till at length it 
came to anchor, and its crew began to disembark in unsuspicious 
security. At the head of them appeared a knight of high de- 
gree, in polished steel armour richly inlaid with gold. His head 
was bare, for he carried his golden helmet in his left hand, and 
as he looked around him with the air of one accustomed to com- 
mand, none could fail to admire his noble countenance shaded 
by dark brown locks, and animated by the bright smile which 
played around his well-shaped mouth. 

A feeling came across Sintram that he must have seen this 
knight somewhere in by-gone times, and he stood motionless for 



CHAP, v.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



133 



a few moments. But suddenly he raised his hand, to make the 
preconcerted signal of attack. In vain did the good Rolf, who 
had just succeeded in getting up to him, whisper in his ear that 
these could not be the foes whom he had taken them for, but 
that they were entire strangers, and evidently of no mean race. 
" Let them be who they may," replied the wild youth, " they 
have been the cause of my coming here, and they shall pay 
dearly for having so deceived me. Say not another word, if 
you value your life." And immediately he gave the signal ; 
a thick shower of javelins followed, and the Norwegian war- 
riors rushed forth with flashing swords. They soon found that 
they had to do with adversaries as brave, or braver, than they 
could have desired. More fell on the side of those who made 
than of those who received the assault, and the strangers ap- 
peared to have a surprising knowledge of the mode of fighting 
which belonged to those northern regions. The knight clad in 
steel armour had not had time to put on his helmet, but it seemed 
as if he in no-wise needed such protection, for his good sword 
afforded him sufficient defence even against the spears and 
darts which were incessantly hurled at him, as with rapid skill 
he received them on the shining blade, and dashed them far 
away shivered into fragments. 

Sintram could not at the fii'st onset penetrate to where this 
valiant chief was standing, as all his followers, eager after 
such a noble prey, thronged closely round him ; but now the 
way was cleared enough for him to spring towards the brave 
stranger, shouting a war cry, and brandishing his sword above 
his head. " Gabrielle !" cried the knight, as he dexterously 
parried the heavy blow which was descending, and with one 
powerful sword-thrust he laid his youthful antagonist prostrate 
on the ground, then placing his knee on Sintram's breast, he 
drew forth a dagger and held it at his throat. The men-at-arms 
ranged themselves around — Sintram felt that no hope remained 
for him. He determined to die as it became a bold warrior, 
and without giving one sign of emotion, he looked on the fatal 
weapon with a steady gaze. 



134 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. v. 



As he lay with his eyes cast upwards, he fancied that he saw 
an apparition of a lovely female form in a bright attire of blue 
and gold. " Our ancestors told truly of the Valkyrias," mur- 
mured he. " Strike then, thou unknown conqueror." 

But with this the knight did not comply, neither was it a 
Valkyria who had so suddenly appeared, but the beautiful wife 
of the stranger, who having advanced to the edge of the vessel, 
had thus met the upraised look of Sintram. " Folko," cried 
she, in the softest tone, " thou knight without reproach ! I 
know that thou wilt spare a vanquished foe." The knight 
sprang up, and with courtly grace assisted the youth to rise, 
saying, " You owe your life and liberty to the noble lady of 
Montfau^on. But if you are so far lost to all sense of honour 
as to wish to resume the combat, here am I — let it be yours to 
begin." 

Sintram sank on his knees overwhelmed with shame and 
remorse ; for he had often heard speak of the high renown of 
the French knight, Folko of Montfaucon, who was distantly 
allied to his father's house, and of the grace and beauty of his 
gentle lady, Gabrielle. 



CHAP. VI.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



135 



CHAPTER VL 

The lord of Montfaugon looked with astonishment at his strange 
adversary ; and as he gazed on him, tecollections arose in his 
mind of that northern race from whom he was descended, and 
with whom he had always maintained friendly relations. His 
eye fell on a golden bear's claw, with which Sintram's cloak 
was fastened, and the sight of that made all clear to him. 

" Have you not," said he, " a valiant and far-famed kinsman 
called the Sea-king Arinbiorn, whose helmet is adorned with 
golden vulture wings? And is not your father the knight 
Biorn ? For surely the bear's claw on your mantle must be 
the cognizance of your house." Sintram gave a sign of assent, 
but his deep sense of shame and humiliation did not allow him 
to speak. 

The knight of Montfau9on raised him from the ground, and 
said gravely, yet gently : " We are then of kin the one to the 
other ; but I could never have believed that any one of your 
noble house would attack a peaceful man without provocation, 
nay, even lie in wait to surprise him." 

" Slay me at once," answered Sintram, " if indeed I am wor- 
thy to die by the hand of so renowned a knight — I can no 
longer endure the light of day." " Because you have been 
overcome?" asked Montfaucon. Sintram shook his head. "Or 
is it rather because you have committed an unknightly action ?" 

The glow of shame that overspread the youth's countenanje 
answered this question. " But you should not on that account 
wish to die " resumed Montfaucon, " You should rather wish 
to live that you may prove your repentance, and make your 
name illustrious by many noble deeds. For you are endowed 
with a bold spirit and with strength of limb, and also with the 
^uick eye of one fitted to command. I should have made you 



136 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. VI. 



a knight this very hour, if you had borne yourself as bravely in 
a good cause, as you have just now done in a most unworthy 
one. See to it, that there may not be much delay in your re- 
ceiving that high honour. I trust to your fulfilling the pro- 
mise of good which is discernible in you." 

A joyous sound of music interrupted his discourse. The 
Lady Gabrielle, bright as the morning, had now come down 
from the ship, surrounded by her maidens, and having been in- 
formed by Folko in a few words who his late adversary was, 
she spoke of the combat as if it had only been a fair and hon- 
ourable passage of arms, saying, " You must not be cast down, 
noble youth, because my w^edded lord has w^on the prize, for be 
it known to you that in the whole world there is but one knight 
who can boast of not having been overcome by the baron of 
Montfau9on. And who can say," continued she sportively, 
whether even that would have happened, had he not set him- 
self to win back the magic ring from me, from me his lady- 
love, destined to him, as well by the choice of my own heart, 
as by the will of Heaven." 

Folko bent his head smiling over the snow-white hand of his 
lady, and then desired the youth to conduct them to his father's 
castle. Rolf undertook to superintend the disembarking of the 
horses and valuables of the strangers, filled with joy at the 
thought that an angel in woman's form had appeared to exer- 
cise a softening influence over his beloved young master, and 
perhaps even to free him from that curse under which he had 
so long suffered. 

Sintram sent messengers all around to seek for his father, 
and to announce to him the arrival of his noble guests. They 
therefore found the old knight in his castle, with every thing 
prepared for their reception. Gabrielle could not enter the 
vast, dark-looking building without a slight shudder, which was 
increased when she saw the rolling fiery eyes of its lord ; even 
the pale dark-haired Sintram seemed to her to assume a more 
fearful appearance, and she sighed to herself: "Oh! what an 
awful abode have you brought me to visit, my own true knight 1 



CHAP. VI.] 



AND ins COMPANIONS. 



137 



Oh that we were once again in my sunny Gascony, or in your 
knightly Normandy !" 

But the grave yet courteous reception they met with, the 
deep respect paid to her grace and beauty, and to the high fame 
of Folko, helped to re-assure her ; and ere long her buoyant 
spirit took pleasure in observing all the strange novelties by 
which she was surrounded. And besides, it could only be for 
a passing moment that any womanly fears found a place in her 
breast when her lord was near at hand — for well did she know 
v/hat effectual protection that brave baron was ever ready to 
afford to all those who were near to him, or anyway committed 
to his charge. 

Soon afterwards Rolf passed through the great hall in which 
Biorn and his guests were seated, conducting their attendants, 
who had charge of the baggage, to the apartments allotted to 
strangers — ^and Gabrielle, catching sight of her favourite lute, 
desired it might be brought to her, in order that she might see 
if the precious instrument had suffered any damage. As she 
bent over it with earnest attention, and her taper 'fingers ran up 
and down the strings, a smile, bright as the summer's dawn, 
lighted up the countenances of Biorn and his son, and both said 
with an involuntary sigh : " Ah ! if you would but play on that 
lute, and sing to it ! It would be too enchanting !" The lady 
looked up at them well pleased, and smiling hei assent, she 
began this song : — 

" Songs and flowers are returning 

And radiant skies of May, 
Earth her choicest gifts is yielding, 

But one is past away. 

The spring that clothes with tend'rest green, 

Each grove and sunny plain, 
Shines not for my forsaken heart, 

Brings not my joys again. 

Warble not so, thou nightingale. 

Upon thy blooming spray, 
Tiiy sweetness now will burst my heart, 

I cannot bear thy lay. ^ 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. VI. 



For flowers and birds are come again, 

And breezes mild of May, 
But treasured hopes and golden hours 

Are lost to me for aye I" 

The two Norwegians sat plunged in melancholy thought ; 
but gradually Sintram's eyes began to brighten with a milder 
expression, his cheeks glowed, every feature relaxed, till those 
who looked at him could have fancied they saw a glorified spirit. 
The good Rolf who had stood listening to the song, rejoiced from 
his heart as he gazed at him, and devoutly raised his hands in 
pious gratitude to heaven. But Gabrielle's astonishment did 
not suffer her to take her eyes off Sintram. At last she said to 
him: "I should much like to know what it is that has so 
struck you in that little song. It is merely a simple lay of the 
spring, full of the images which that sweet season never fails 
to call up in the minds of my countrymen." 

" But is your home really so lovely, so wondrously full 
of poetry and its delights'?" cried the enraptured Sintram. 
" Then I am no longer surprised at your heavenly beauty, at 
the empire you have already gained over my hard, wayward 
heart ! For from such a paradise angelic messengers would 
surely be sent to comfort and enlighten the dark desolate world 
without." And so saying he fell on his knees before the lady 
in an attitude of deep humility. Folko looked on all the while 
with an approving smile, whilst Gabrielle, in much embarrass- 
ment, seemed hardly to know how she should treat the half- 
wild, yet courteous young stranger. After a little hesitation, 
however, she extended her fair hand to him, and said as she 
gently raised him : " Any one who listens with such delight 
to music, must surely know how to awaken its strains himself. 
Take my lute, and let us hear one of your spirit-stirring 
songs." 

Eat Sintram drew back, and would not take the instrument, 
and he said : " Heaven forbid that my rough untutored hand 
should touch those delicate strings ! For even were I to begin 
with some soft strains, yet before long the wild spirit w^hich 



CHAP. VI.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



139 



dwells in me would break out, and the beautiful instrument 
would assuredly be injured or destroyed. No, no, suffer me 
rather to fetch my own huge harp, strung with bears' sinews 
set in brass, for in truth I do feel myself inspired to play and 
sing." 

Gabrielle murmured a half-frightened assent, and Sintran\ 
having brought his harp, began to strike it loudly, and to sing 
these words with a voice no less powerful : 

" Sir Knight, Sir Knight, oh ! whither away 
With thy snow-white sail on the foaming spray ?" 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for the land of flowers ! 

" Too long have I trod upon ice and snow, 
I seek the bowers where roses blow." 

Sing heigh, sing ho, for the land of flowers 

He steered on his course by night and dav 
Till he cast his anchor in Naples Bay. 

Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

There wandered a Lady upon the strand. 
Her fair hair bound with a golden band. 

Sing heigh^ sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

" Hail to thee ! hail to thee ! Lady bright, 
Mine own shalt thou be ere morning light." 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

" Not so, Sir Knight," the Lady replied, 
" For you speak to the Margrave's chosen bride.'* 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

" Your lover may come with his shield and spear. 
And the victor shall win thee, Lady dear !" 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

" Nay, seek for another bride, I pray, 
Most fair are the maidens of Naples Bay." 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

*' No, Lady, for thee my heart doth burn, 
And the world cannot now rny purpose turn." 
Sing heigh sing ho, for th-^t land of flowers! 



140 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. VI. 



Then came the young Margrave, bold and brave, 
But low was he laid in a grassy grave. 

Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers I 

And then the fierce Northman joyous cried, 
" Now shall I possess lands, castle and Bride !" 
Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers ! 

Smtram's song was ended, but his eyes glared wildly, and 
the vibrations of the harp-strings still resounded in a marvel- 
lous manner. Biorn's attitude was again erect, he stroked his 
long beard and rattled his sword as if in great delight at what 
he ha^^'just heard. The wild song and the strange aspect of 
the father and son made Gabrielle tremble more than ever, but 
a glance towards the Lord of Montfauqon again quieted her 
fears, for there he sat with a calm smile on his lips, as com- 
posed in the midst of all the noise as though it had only been 
caused by a passing autumnal storm. 



CHAP. VII.J 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



141 



CHAPTER VIL 

Some weeks had passed since this, when one ds.y, as the shadows 
of evening were beginning to fall, Sintram entered the garden 
of the castle in a very disturbed state of mind. Although the 
presence of Gabrielle never failed to sooth and calm him, yet 
if she left the apartment for even a few instants, the fearful 
wildness of his spirit seemed to return with renewed strx^ngth. 
On this occasion, after having in the kindest manner read 
legends of the olden times to his father Biorn during great part 
of the day, she had retired to her own chamber. The sweet 
tones of her lute could be distinctly heard in the garden below, 
but the sounds only drove the agitated youth farther and farther 
into the deep shades of the ancient trees which surrounded the 
garden. Stooping suddenly to avoid some over-hanging branch- 
es, he started at finding himself close to something which he 
had not perceived before, and which at first sight he took for a 
small bear standing on its hind legs, with a wonderfully long 
and crooked horn on its head. He drew back in surprise and 
fear, a shrill voice addressed these words to him : " Well, my 
brave young knight, whence do you come ? whither are you 
going ? and wherefore are you so terrified ?" And then he be- 
came aware that what he saw was a little old man so -wrapped 
up in a rough garment of fur, that scarcely one of his features 
was visible, and wearing in his cap a strange looking long 
feather. " But whence do you come ? and whither are you 
going ?" returned the angry Sintram. " For you are the per- 
son to whom such questions should be addressed. What busi- 
ness have you in our-domiains, you hideous little being?" 

" Well, well," sneered the other one, " I am thinking that I 
am quite big enough as I am. And as to the rest, why should 
you object to my being here hunting for snails ? Snnils cannot 



142 



SINTRAM, 



[OIAP. VII. 



surely be included in the game which your high mightinesses 
consider that you alone have a right to pursue ? Now it hap- 
^pens that I know how to prepare from them an excellent high- 
flavoured beverage ; and I have taken a sufficient number foi 
to-day: marvellous fat little animals, with wise faces like a 
man's, and long twisted horns on their heads. Would you like 
to see them ? Look here !" 

And then he began to unfasten and fumble about his fur-gar- 
ment, till Sintram, filled with disgust and horror, said . Psha ! 
I detest such animals ! Be quiet, and tell me at once, who, and 
what you yourself are." " Are you so bent upon knowing my 
name ?" replied the little man. " Let it content you to hear 
that I am Master of all secret knowledge, and well-versed in 
the most intricate depths of ancient history. Ah ! my young 
Sir, if you would only hear some of the things I have to tell ! 
But you are too much afraid !" 

" Afraid of you !" cried Sintram, with a wild laugh. 

" Many a better man than you has been so before now," mut- 
tered the Little Master, "but they did not like being told of it 
any more than you do." 

" To prove that you are mistaken," said Sintram, " I will 
remain here with you till the moon has risen high in the 
heavens. But you must relate to me one of your stories the 
while." 

The little man nodded his head with a look of much satisfac- 
tion, and as they paced together up and down a retired walk 
shaded by lofty elm-trees, he began discoursing as follows : — 

" Many hundred years ago a young knight called Paris of 
Troy lived in that sunny land of the south where are found 
the sweetest songs, the brightest flowers, and the most beautiful 
ladies. You know a song that tells of that fair land, do* you 
not, young Sir ? ' Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers.' " 
Sintram gave a sign of assent, and sighed deeply, " Now," 
resumed the little Master, " it happened that Paris led that kind 
of life which is not uncommon in those countries, and of which 
their poets often sing — he would pass whole months together in 



cn.\p. VII.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



143 



tlie grab of a peasant, making the woods and mountains resound 
to the tones of his lute, and watching the flocks which he led to 
pasture. Here one day three beautiful goddesses appeared to 
him, who were disputing about a golden apple — and they ap- 
pealed to him to decide which of them was the most beautiful, 
as to her the golden prize was to be adjudged. The first had 
power to give thrones and sceptres and crowns to whom she 
would — ^the second could give wisdom and knowledge — and the 
third knew how to prepare love-charms which couii not fail uf 
securing the affections of the fairest of women. Each one in 
turn proffered her choicest gifts to the young shepherd, in order 
that, tempted by them, he might give the prize to her. But as 
beauty charmed him more than anything else in the world, he 
decided that the third goddess should win the golden apple — 
hex name was Venus. The two others departed in great dis- 
pleasure, but Venus bid him put on his knightly armour, and 
his helmet adorned with waving feathers, and then she con- 
ducted him to a famous city called Sparta, where ruled the 
noble King Menelaus. His young wife Helen was the loveliest 
woman on earth, and the goddess offered her to Paris in return 
for the golden apple. He was most ready to have her, and 
wished for nothing better ; but he asked how he was to gain 
possession of her." 

" Paris can have been but a sorry knight," interrupted Sin- 
tram. " Such things are easily settled. The husband is chal- 
lenged to a single combat, and he that is victorious, carries off 
the wife." 

" But King Menelaus was exercising hospitality towards the 
young knight," said the narrator. 

" Listen to me. Little Master," cried Sintram, " he might 
have asked the goddess for some other beautiful woman, and 
then have mounted his horse, or weighed anchor, and departed 
in search of her." 

" Yes, yes, it is very easy to say so," replied the old man. 
*' But if you only knew how bewitchingly lovely this Q,ueen 
Helen was. After seeing her, no admiration was left for any 



144 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. Vll, 



one else," And then he hegan a glowing description of the 
charms of this wondrously beautiful princess, giving to her 
every one of Gabrielle's features with such exactness, that Sin- 
tram, overcome with emotion, was obliged to lean against a 
tree to support himself. The Little Master stood opposite to 
him, grinning, and he asked, " Well now, could you have ad- 
vised that poor knight Paris to fly from her ?" 

" Tell me at once what happened next," stam.mered Sin- 
tram. 

" The goddess acted honourably towards Paris," continued 
the old man. " She declared to him that if he would carry 
away the lovely princess to his own city Troy, he might do so, 
and thus cause the ruin of his whole house and of his country ; 
but that during ten years he would be able to defend Troy 
against his enemies and live happy in the love of his fair 
lady." 

" And he took her on those terms, unless he was a fool !" 
cried the youth. 

" To be sure he accepted them," whispered the Little Master. 
" I would have done so in his place ! And do you know, 
young Sir, it once fell out that the appearance of things was 
exactly like what we now see. The newly risen moon, partly 
veiled by clouds, was shining dimly through the thick branches 
of the trees in the silence of the evening. Leaning against a 
tree, as you are now doing, there stood the young enamoured 
knio-ht Paris, and at his side the enchantress Venus, but so dis* 
ofuised and transformed, that she did not look much more at- 
tractive than I do. And by the silvery light of the moon, the 
form of the beautiful beloved one was seen sweeping by amidst 
the whispering boughs." He was silent, and, as if to realize 
his deluding words, Gabrielle just then appeared, musing as she 
walked alone down the alley of elms. " Awful being, by what 
name shall I call you ? What is it that you would drive me 
to ?" muttered the trembling Sintram. 

" Do not you remember your father's strong fortress on the 
Rocks of the Moon?" replied '.he old man. " The castellan and the 



CHAP. VII ] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



145 



garrison are entirely devoted to you. It could well stand a ten 
years' siege, and the postern gate which leads to it is open, as 
was that of the royal citadel of Sparta for the happy Paris." 
The youth looked, and perceived in fact that a gate in the gar- 
den-wall, which was usually closed, had now been left open, 
and that the distant mountains lighted up by the moon might 
be clearly seen through it. " And if he did not accept, he was 
a fool," said the Little Master, with a grin, echoing Sintram's 
former words. At that moment, Gabrielle drew near to him. 
She was within reach of his grasp, had he made the least 
movement ; and the moon as it shone on her heavenly counte- 
nance, gave new charms to it. The youth had already bent 
forwards. 

«' My Lord and God, I pray 
Turn from his heart away 

This world's turmoil. 
And call him to Thy light, 
Be it through sorrow's night. 

Through pain or toil." 

These words were sung by old Rolf at that very time, as he 
lingered on the banks of the lake by the castle, seeking a re- 
lief to his anxious thoughts concerning Sintram in the fervent 
supplications he addressed to the Almighty. The sounds reach- 
ed Sintram's ear; he stood as if spell-bound, and made the sign 
of the Cross. Immediately the Little Master fled away, jump- 
ing uncouthly on one leg through the gates and shutting them 
after him with a loud noise. 

Sintram approached the terrified Gabrielle, and said as he 
offered his arm to support her : " Suffer me to lead you back 
to the castle. The nights in these northern regions are often 
wild and fearful." 



11 



146 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. VIII. 



CHAPTER VIIL 

They found the two knights within sitting together, after their 
evening repast. Folko was relating stories in his usual mild 
and cheerful manner, and Biorn was listening with a moody air, 
hut yet as if against his will the dark cloud might pass way 
under the influence of his companion's bright and gentle cour- 
tesy. Gabrielle saluted the baron with a smile, and signed to 
him to continue his discourse, as she took her place next to 
Biorn, with the watchful kindness which ever marked her bear- 
ing towards him. Sintram the while stood by the hearth, ab- 
stracted and melancholy, and the embers, as he stirred them, 
cast an unnatural gleam over his pallid features. 

" And of all the German trading towns," continued Mont- 
fau^on, " the largest and richest is Hamburgh. In Normandy 
the merchants of this city are always received with a hearty 
welcome, and those excellent people never fail to prove them- 
selves our friends when we seek their advice and assistance. 
When I first visited Hamburgh, every honour and respect was 
paid me. I found its inhabitants engaged in a war with a 
neighbouring prince, and immediately I devoted my sword to 
their service, and that not without success." 

" Your sword ! your knightly sword !" interrupted Biorn, 
and more than the wonted fire flashed from his eyes. " You 
turned it against a knight, and on behalf of shopkeepers !" 

" Sir knight," replied Folko calmly, " the barons of Mont- 
faufon have ever been used to take the side which they es- 
teemed the right one in combats, without consulting indifferent 
bystanders, and as I have received this good custom from my 
forefathers, so do I wish to hand it on to my remotest descend- 
ants. If you do not esteem this a wise practice, you are at 



CHAP. VIII.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



147 



liberty to speak your opinion freely. But I cannot suffer you 
to say anything against the people of Hamburgh after I have 
declared them to be my friends and allies." 

Biorn cast down his fierce eyes to the ground, and their wild 
expression seemed to fade away. He said in a subdued tone : 
" Proceed, noble baron. You are right, and I am wrong." Then 
Folko stretched out his hand to him across the table, and re- 
sumed his narration : " Amongst all my' beloved Hamburghers 
the dearest to me are two very remarkable men — a father and 
son. What have they not seen and done in the remotest cor- 
ners of the earth ! and how has every talent been devoted to 
the good of their native town ! My life has by the blessing of 
God been not unfruitful in deeds of renown, but in comparison 
with the wise Gotthard Lenz and his stout-hearted son Rudlieb, 
I look upon myself as nothing but an esquire who has perhaps 
some few times attended knights to tourneys, and besides that 
has never gone out of his own forests. They have carried the 
light of religion, and with it happiness and peace, to savage na- 
tions whose very names are unknown to me, and the wealth 
which they have brought back from those distant climes has all 
been given to promote the common welfare as unhesitatingly as 
if no other use could possibly be devised for it. On their re- 
turn from their long and perilous sea voyages, they hasten to 
an hospital which has been founded by them and of which they 
undertake the entire charge. Then they proceed to select the 
most fitting spots whereon to erect new towers and fortresses 
for the defence of their beloved country. Next they repair to 
the houses where strangers and travellers receive hospitality at 
their cost — and then they return to their own abode, where 
guests are entertained with a splendour worthy of a king's pa- 
lace, and yet with the unassuming simplicity of manners which 
is thought only to belong to the shepherd's cot. Many a tale 
of their wondrous adventures serves to enliven these sumptuous 
feasts. Amongst others, I remember to have heard my friends 
relate one at the thought of which I still shudder. Possibly I 



148 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. Vltl. 



may gain some more complete information on the subject from 
you. It appears that several years ago, just about the time of 
the Christmas festival, Gotthard and Rudlieb were shipwrecked 
on the coast of Norway, during a violent winter's tempest ; 
they could never exactly ascertain the situation of the rocks 
on which their vessel stranded ; but so much is certain, that 
very near the sea-shore stood a huge castle to which the father 
and son betook themselves, seeking for that assistance and shel- 
ter which Christian people are ever willing to afford each 
other in case of need. They went alone, leaving their follow 
ers to watch the ship. The castle gates were thrown open, and 
th-»y thought all was well. But on a sudden the court-yard 
was filled with armed men, who with one accord aimed their 
sharp iron-pointed spears at the defenceless strangers, whose 
dignified remonstrances and mild entreaties were only heard 
in sullen silence or with scornful jeerings. After a while a 
knight came down the stairs, his eyes, so to speak, flashing fire, 
they hardly knew whether to think they saw some fearful ap- 
parition, or a wild heathen — ^he gave a signal, and the fatal 
spears closed around them. At that instant the soft tones of a 
woman's voice fell on their ear ; she was calling on the Saviour's 
holy name for aid ; at the sound, the wild figures in the court- 
yard rushed madly one against the other, the gates burst open, 
and Gotthard and Rudlieb fled away, catching a glimpse as 
they went of an angelic face which appeared at one of the win- 
dows of the castle. They made every exertion to get their 
ship again afloat, preferring to trust themselves to the treache- 
rous sea, rather than to remain on that barbarous coast, and at 
last they landed in Denmark after encountering many perils 
and dangers. They have always said that it must have been 
a Heathen's castle in which they were so cruelly treated, but 
I am rather disposed to think it was some ruined fortress, long 
deserted by men, in which evil spirits were wont to hold their 
nightly assemblies, for is it possible to imagine that even a 
Heathen could be found with so much of a demon's temper as 



CIIAP. VIII.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



149 



to meet strangers, asking for hospitality, with deadly weapons, 

instead of the refreshment and shelter they needed 

Biorn gazed fixedly on the ground, as though he were turned 
into stone — but Sintram came towards the table, and said : 
" Father, let us seek out this wicked abode, and let us level it 
to the ground. I cannot tell how, but I feel quite sure that the 
accursed deed we have just heard of is alone the cause of my 
frightful dreams." Enraged at his son's words, Biorn rose up, 
and would perhaps again have uttered some dreadful impreca- 
tion, but Heaven decreed otherwise, for just at that moment the 
pealing notes of a trumpet were heard, which drowned the an- 
gry tones of his voice ; the great doors opened slowly, and a 
herald entered the hall. He bowed reverently, and then said : 
" I am sent by Jarl Eric the aged. He returned two days ago 
from his expedition to the Grecian seas. His wish had been to 
take vengeance on the island which is called Chios, where fifty 
years ago his father was slain by the soldiers of the Emperor. 
But your kinsman, the sea-king Arinbiorn, who was lying there 
at anchor, tried to pacify him and to turn him from his purpose 
— to this Jarl Eric would not listen — so the sea-king said next 
that he would never suflfer Chios to be laid waste, because it 
was an island where the lays of an old Greek bard, called 
Homer, were excellently sung, and where moreover a very 
choice wine was made. Words proving of no avail, a combat 
ensued, in which Arinbiorn had so much the advantage that 
Jarl Eric lost two of his ships, and only with difficulty escaped 
in one which had already sustained great damage. Eric the 
aged has now resolved to take revenge on some of the sea- 
king's race, since Arinbiorn himself is rarely to be found. Will 
you, Biorn of the Fiery Eyes, at once pay as large a penalty 
in cattle and goods of whatever description, as it may please the 
Jarl to demand ? Or will you prepare to meet him with an 
armed force at Niflung's Heath seven days hence ?" 

Biorn bowed his head quietly, and replied in a mild tone ; 
" Seven days hence at Niflung's Heath." He then ofl^ered to 



150 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. VIIl, 



the herald a golden goblet full of rich wine, and added : " Drink 
that, and then carry off with thee the cup which thou hast 
emptied." 

" The Baron of Montfaucon likewise sends greeting to thy 
chieftain Jarl Eric," interposed Folko, " and engages to be also 
at Niflung's Heath, as the hereditary friend of the sea-king's 
house, and also as being the kinsman and guest of Biorn of the 
Fiery Eyes." 

The herald was seen to tremble at the name of Montfaucon, 
he bowed very low, cast an anxious, reverential look at the 
baron, and left the hall. Gabrielle looked on her knight with 
a smile that spoke of entire trust in his valour, when she heard 
him pledge himself to appear in the field, and she only asked, 
" Where shall I remain whilst you go forth to battle, Folko ?" 
" I had hoped," answered Biorn, " that you would be well con- 
tented to stay in this castle, lovely lady ; I leave my son to 
guard you and attend on you." Gabrielle hesitated an instant, 
and Sintram, who had resumed his position near the fire, mut- 
tered to himself as he fixed his eyes on the bright flames which 
were flashing up : " Yes, yes, so it will probably happen. I 
can fancy that king Menelaus had just left Sparta on some 
warlike expedition when the young knight Paris met the lovely 
Helen that evening in the garden." But Gabrielle, shudder- 
ing, although she knew not why, said quickly : "Remain here 
without you, Folko ? And how could I bear to forego the joy 
of seeing you win fresh laurels ? or the honour of tending you, 
should you chance to receive a wound ?" Folko bent his head 
in acknowledgment of his lady's anxious tenderness, and re- 
plied : " Come with your own true knight, since such is your 
pleasure, and be to him a bright guiding star. It is a good old 
northern custom that ladies should be present at knightly com- 
bats, and no true warrior of the north will fail to respect the 
place whence beams the light of their eyes. Unless indeed," 
continued he, with an inquiring look at Biorn, " unless Jarl 
Eric has degenerated from his valiant forefathers ?" 



CHAP. VIIT.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



151 



" His honour may be relied on," said Biorn, confidently. 

" Then array yourself, my fairest love," said the delighted 
Folko, " array yourself, and come forth with us to the battle- 
field, to behold and judge our knightly deeds." 

" Come forth with us to the battle-field," echoed Sintram, in 
a sudden transport of joy. 

And they all dispersed ; Sintram betaking himself again 'jn 
the wood, while the others retired to rest 



152 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. DC 



CHAPTER IX. 

It was a wild, dreary tract of country that which bore the 
name of Niflung's Heath. According to tradition, the young 
Niflung, son of Hogni, the last of his race, had there ended in 
sadness and obscurity a life which no warlike deeds had ren- 
dered illustrious. Many ancient monuments of the dead were 
still standing round about, and in the few oak-trees scattered 
here and there over the plain, huge eagles had built their 
nests — the beating of their heavy wings as they fought together, 
and their wild screams, were heard far off in regions more 
thickly peopled by man, and at the sound children would trem- 
ble in their cradles, and old men quake with fear as they sat 
over the blazing hearth. 

As the seventh night, the last before the day of combat, was 
just beginning, two large armies were seen descending from the 
hills in opposite directions : that which came from the west was 
commanded by Eric the aged, that from the east by Biorn of 
the Fiery Eyes. They appeared thus early in compliance with 
the custom which required that adversaries should always pre- 
sent themselves at the appointed field of battle before the time 
named, in order to prove that they rather sought than dreaded 
the hour of trial. Folko immediately chose out the most con- 
venient spot for the tent of blue and gold to be pitched, which 
was to shelter his gentle lady ; whilst Sintram, in the charac- 
ter of herald, rode over to Jarl Eric to announce to him that 
the beauteous Gabrielle of Montfau^on was there guarded by 
his father's warriors, and would the next morning be present as 
a judge of the combat. 

Jarl Eric bowed low on receiving this intelligence, and or- 
dered his bards to strike up a lay, the v/ords of which ran as 
follows : — 



CHAP. IX. 1 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



X53 



" W&rriors bold of Eric's band, 
Gird your glittering armour on, 
Stand beneath to-morrow's sun. 

In your might. 

Fairest dame that ever gladdened 
Our wild shores with beauty's vision, 
May thy bright eyes o'er our combat, 
Judge the right. 

Tidings of yon noble stranger 
Long ago have reached our ears, 
Wafted upon southern breezes, 

O'er the wave. 

Now midst yonder hostile ranks, 
In his warlike pride he meets us, 
Folko comes ! Fight, men of Eric, 

True and brave !" 

These wondrous tones floated over the plain, and reached the 
tent of Gabrielle. It was no new thing to hear her knight's 
fame celebrated on all sides, but now that she listened to his 
praises bursting forth in the stillness of night from the mouth of 
his enemies, she could scarcely refrain from kneeling at the feet 
of the mighty chieftain. But he with courteous tenderness pre- 
vented her from sinking into that lowly posture, and pressing 
his lips fervently on her snow-white hand, he said : " My deeds, 
oh lovely lady, belong to thee, and not to me !" 

No sooner had the darkness of night passed away, and the 
red streaks in the east announced the arrival of the appointed 
morning, than the whole plain seemed alive with preparations 
for the combat : knights put on their rattling armour, war- 
horses began to neigh impatiently, the morning-draught went 
round in gold and silver goblets, while war-songs and the harps 
of the bards resounded far and near. A joyous march was 
heard in Biorn's camp, as Montfau^on, with his troops and re- 
tainers, all clad in bright steel armour, conducted their lady 
up to a neighbouring hill, where she would be safe from the 
spears which would soon be flying in all directions, and whence 
she could command a complete view of the battle-field. The 



154 



SINTRAM, 



[chap, is 



morning sun lighted up her lovely features, adding radiance to 
her surpassing beauty, and as she came in view of the camp of 
Tail Eric, his soldiers lowered their weapons, whilst the chief- 
tains bent their proud heads which were covered with huge hel- 
mets. Two of Montfaufon's pages remained in attendance on 
the lady Gabrielle, well content to exchange their hopes of 
gaining renown in the battle-field for the far greater honour of 
being chosen to fulfil this office. Both armies passed in front 
of her, saluting her as they went ; they then placed themselves 
in array, and the fight began. 

The spears flew from the hands of the stout northern war- 
riors, rattling against the broad shields under which they shel- 
tered themselves, or sometimes clattering as they met in the 
air ; at intervals, on one side or the other, a man was struck, 
and fell bathed in his blood. After a &hort pause, the knight 
of Montfaufon advanced with his troop of Norman horsemen — 
even as he dashed past, he did not fail to lower his shining sword 
to salute Gabrielle, and then, with a loud exulting war-cry, 
which burst from the lips of all, they charged the left wing of 
the enemy. Eric's foot-soldiers, kneeling firmly in close ranks, 
received them with fixed javelins — many a noble horse fell 
wounded to death, and in fallinof broug-ht his rider with him to 
the ground — others again crushed their foes under them as they 
writhed in mortal agonies. In the midst of the confusion and 
bloodshed, Folko and his war-steed escaped unhurt, and follow- 
ed by a small band of chosen men, he dashed through the hos- 
tile ranks. Already were they falling into disorder, already 
were Biorn's warriors giving shouts of victory, when a troop of 
horse, headed by Jarl Eric himself, advanced against the vali- 
ant Baron of Montfaufon ; and whilst his Normans, hastily as- 
sembling round their leader, assisted him in repelling this un- 
expected attack, the enemy's infantry were gradually forming 
themselves into a thick impenetrable mass, which rolled on in 
formidable strength. All these movements seemed to be di- 
rected by a warrior in the centre, whose loud piercing shout 



CHAP, ix.j 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



155 



was heard at every instant. And scarcely were the troops 
formed into this close array, when suddenly they spread them- 
selves out on all sides, carrying every thing before them with 
the irresistible force of the burning torrent from a volcano. 

Biorn's soldiers, who had thought themselves on the point of 
enclojjing their enemies, lost courage and gave way at once be- 
fore this wondrous onset. The knight himself in vain attempt- 
ed to stem the tide of fugitives, and with difficulty escaped be- 
ing carried away by it. 

Sintram stood looking on this scene of confusion with mute 
indignation ; friends and foes passed by him, all equally avoid- 
ing him, and dreading to come in contact with one whose as- 
pect was so fearful, nay almost unearthly, in his motionless 
rage. He aimed no blow either to right or left, his powerful 
battle-axe hung idly at his side. But his eye flashed fire, and 
seemed to be piercing the enemy's ranks through and through, 
in the endeavor to find out who it was that had conjured up 
this sudden warlike spirit. At length he discovered the object 
of his search. A small man clothed in strange-looking armour, 
with large golden horns in his helmet, and a long visor, ad- 
vancing in front of it, was leaning on a tv/o-edged curved spear, 
and seemed to be looking with derision at the hasty flight of 
Biorn's troops as they were pursued by their victorious foes. 
" That is he," cried Sintram, " he who would bring me to dis- 
grace before the eyes of Gabrielle !" And with the swiftness of 
an arrow he flew towards him, uttering a wild shout of defiance. 
The combat was fierce, but not of long duration. To the won- 
drous dexterity of his adversary, Sintram opposed his far supe- 
rior strength and height, and he dealt such a tremendous blow 
on the horned helmet that a stream of blood rushed forth, the 
small man fell as if stunned, and, after some frightful convulsive 
movements, his limbs appeared to stiffen in death. 

His overthrow gave the signal for that of all Eric's army. 
Even those who had not seen him fall, suddenly lost their 
courage, and again retreated in confusion, or ran in wild af- 



156 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. IX 



fright on the very spears of their enemies. At the same time 
Montfau^on was dispersing Jarl Eric's cavalry, after a desperate 
conflict, and had taken their chief prisoner with his own hand. 
Biorn of the Fiery Eyes stood victorious in the middle of the 
field of battle. The day was won. 



CHAP. X.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



157 



CHAPTER X. 

In full view of both armies, with glowing- cheeks and looks of 
modest humility, Sintram was conducted by the brave baron 
of Montfau^on up the hill where Gabrielle stood in all the lustre 
of her beauty. Both warriors bent the knee before her, and 
Folko said with much solemnity : " Lady, this valiant youth of 
a noble race has borne away the palm of victory to-day. I pray 
you to let him receive from your fair hand the reward to which 
he is so justly entitled." 

Gabrielle bowed courteously, took off her scarf of blue and 
gold, and fastened to it a bright sword which a page brought to 
her on a cushion of cloth of silver. She then with a smils 
presented her precious gift to Sintram, who was bending for 
ward to receive it, when suddenly Gabrielle drew back, and 
turning to Folko, she said : " Noble baron, should not he, on 
whom I bestow a scarf and sword, be first admitted into the 
order of knighthood Folko sprang up, and bowing low be- 
fore his lady, gave the youth the accolade with solemn earnest- 
ness. Then Gabrielle buckled on his sword, saying : " Take 
this for the honour of God and the service of noble ladies, 
young knight. I saw you fight, I saw you conquer, and my 
fervent prayers were offered up for you. Fight and conquer 
often again as you have done this day, that the fame of your 
deeds may be wafted even to my far distant country." And at 
a sign from Folko, she offered her cheek for the new knight to 
kiss. Thrilling all over, and full of a holj?- joy, Sintram arose 
in deep silence, and tears streamed down his cheeks, whilst the 
shout of the assembled troops greeted the enraptured youth 
with stunning applause. Old Rolf stood silently on one side, 
and as he saw the mild beaming expression in his beloved 
pupil's countenance, he calmly and piously returned thanks. 



158 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. X 



The strife is now at an end — rich blessings are showered 
down — the evil foe is slain." 

Biorn and Jarl Eric had the while been talking together with 
eagerness, but not with animosity. The conqueror now led his 
vanquished enemy up the hill, and presented him to the taroa 
and Gabrielle, saying: "Instead of two enemies, you now see 
two sworn allies, and I request you, my beloved guests and 
kinsfolk, to receive him graciously as one who, from hence- 
forward, belongs to us." " He was ever one with you in 
heart," added Eric, smiling ; " I have indeed sought for re- 
venge of former wrongs, but I have now had enough of defeats 
both by sea and land. Yet I thank Heaven, that neither in the 
Grecian seas, nor on Niflung's Heath, have I shown myself 
wanting in valour." The lord of Montfaufon assented cor- 
dially, and the terms of peace were agreed on with entire good 
will. Jarl Eric then addressed Gabrielle in so courtly a man- 
ner that she could not refrain from looking on the gigantic old 
warrior with a smile of astonishment, and she gave him her 
hand to kiss. 

Meanwhile Sintram was standing apart, speaking earnestly 
to his good Rolf, and at length he was heard to say: " But be- 
fore all, be sure that you bury that wonderfully brave knight 
whom my battle-axe laid low. Choose out the greenest hill for 
his resting-place, and the loftiest oak to shade his grave. Also 
I wish you to open his visor and to examine his countenance 
carefully, lest the blow should only have deprived him of mo- 
tion, not of life ; and moreover, that you may be able to give 
me an exact description of him to whom I owe the noblest, 
most precious prize ever adjudged to man." 

Rolf departed to execute his orders. " Our young knight 
is speaking there of one amongst the slain, of whom I should 
like to hear more," said Folko, turning to Jarl Eric. " Who 
was that wonderful chieftain who rallied your troops in so mas 
terly a manner, and who at last fell un<^er Smtram's powerfu] 
weapon ?" 

" You ask me more than I know how to answer," replied 



t5HAP. X.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



159 



Jarl Eric. "About three nights ago, this stranger made his 
appearance amongst us. I was sitting with my chieftains and 
warriors round the hearth, forging our armour, and singing the 
while. Suddenly, above the din of our hammering and our 
singing, we heard so loud a noise that it silenced us in a mo- 
ment, and we sat motionless as if we had been turned into 
stone. The sound continued equally stunning, and at last we 
made out that it must be caused by some person blowing a huge 
horn outside the castle, in order to obtain admittance. I went 
down myself to the gate, and as I passed through the court- 
yard I perceived that all my dogs were so terrified by the ex- 
traordinary noise as to be howling and crouching in their ken- 
nels, instead of barking at the intruders. I scolded them, and 
called to them, but even the fiercest would not follow me. ^ Then,' 
thought I to myself, ^ I must shew you the way to set to work 
so I grasped my sword firmly, I set my torch on the ground 
close beside me, and I let the gates fly open without further de- 
lay. For I well knew that it would be no easy matter for any 
one to effect an entrance against my will. A loud laugh greet- 
ed me, and I heard these words : ' Well, well, what mighty 
preparations are these before one small man is allowed to find 
the shelter he seeks !' And in truth I did feel myself redden 
with shame when I saw the small stranger standing opposite to 
me, quite alone. I called to him to come in at once, and offer- 
ed my hand to him ; but he still showed some displeasure, and 
would not give me his in return. As he went up, however, he 
became more friendly, he showed me the golden horn on which 
he sounded that blast, and which he carried screwed on his hel- 
met, as well as another exactly like it. When he was sitting 
with us in the hall, he behaved in a very strange manner — 
sometimes he v/as merry, sometimes cross, by turns courteous 
and rude in his demeanour, without any one being able to see 
a motive for such constant chang-es. I long-ed to know where 
ht came from, but how could I ask my guest such a question ? 
He told us as much as this, that he was starved with cold in our 
country, and that his own was much warmer. Also he appear 



160 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. X 



ed well acquainted with the city of Constantinople, and related 
fearful stories of how brothers, uncles and nephews, nay even 
fathers and sons, had been known there to drive each other from 
the throne, and to exercise such cruelties as putting out eyes, 
and cutting out tongues, when they stopped short of murdering 
their opponents. At length he said his ow^n name ; it sounded 
harmonious, like a Greek name, but none of us could remember 
it. Before long, he displayed his skill as an armourer. He 
understood marvellously well how tc handle the rjd-hot iron, 
and how to form it into weapons of a more murderous nature 
than any I had ever before seen. I would not suffer him to go 
on making them, for I was resolved to meet you in the field 
with such arms only as you would yourselves bear, and as w^e 
are all used to in our northern countries. Then he laughed, 
and said he thought it w^ould be quite possible to be victorious 
without their aid, provided address and dexterity were not want- 
ing, and so forth ; if only I would entrust the command of my 
infantry to him, I might depend upon success. It occurred to 
me that he who was so skilled in forging arms must also wield 
them well — yet I required some proof of his powers. Sir knight, 
he came off victorious in trials of strength, more surprising than 
any you could imagine — and although the fame of young Sin- 
tram as a bold and brave warrior is spread far and wide, yet I 
can scarce believe that he really succeeded in slaying such an 
one as my Greek ally showed himself to be." 

He would have continued speaking, but the good Rolf here 
made his appearance hastening towards them, followed by a 
few attendants, the whole party looking so ghastly pale that all 
eyes were involuntarily fixed on them, and every one waited 
anxiously to hear what tidings they brought. Rolf stood still, 
silent and trembling. 

" Take courage, my old friend !" cried Sintram. " What- 
ever you may have to tell will come forth clear and true from 
your honest lips." " My dear master," began the old man, " be 
not angry, but as to burying that strange warrior whom you 
slew, it is a thing impossible. Would that we had never opened 



<?1IAP. X.\ 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



that wide, hideous visor ! For so horrible a countenance grinned 
at us from underneath it, so distorted by death, and with such 
a fiendish expression, that we hardly kept our senses. We 
could not by any possibility have touched him. I would rather 
be sent to kill wolves and bears in the desert, and look on whilst 
fierce birds of prey feast on their carcasses." 

All present shuddered, and were silent — till Sintram nerved 
himself to say : " Dear good old man, why use such wild words 
as I never till now heard you utter? But tell me, Jarl Eric, 
did your ally present such an awful appearance while he was 
yet alive ?" 

" I do not call it to mind," answered Jarl Eric, looking in- 
quiringly at his companions who were standing around. They 
said the same thing as their lord ; but on further questioning, 
it appeared that neither the chieftain, nor the knights, nor the 
soldiers, could say exactly what the stranger was like. 

"We must then find it out for ourselves, and bury the 
corpse," said Sintram ; and he signed to the assembled party to 
flUow him. All did so, except the lord of Montfau9on, whom 
the whispered entreaty of Gabrielle kept at her side. He lost 
nothing by remaining behind : for though Niflung's Heath was 
searched from one end to the other many times, yet the body of 
the unknown warrior was never again discovered. 



.2 



SINTRAM, 



[OIUP. XI. 



CHAPTER XI. 

The joy and serenity which came over Sintram's soul on thia 
day appeared to he much more than a passing gleam. If still 
an occasional thought of the knight Paris and the fair Helen 
would for a moment make his heart beat wildly, it needed but 
one look at his scarf and sword to restore calmness within. 
" What can any man wish for more than has been already be- 
stowed on me ?" would he say to himself at such times, in deep 
emotion. And thus it went on for a long while. 

The autumn, so beautiful in those northern climes, had al- 
ready begun to redden the leaves of the old oaks and elms round 
the castle, when one day it chanced that Sintram found himself 
seated in company with Folko and Gabrielle, in almost the very 
same spot in the garden where he had before met that myste- 
rious being whom, without knowing why, he had named the 
Little Master. But on this day in what a different light did 
every thing appear! The sun was sinking slowly over the 
sea, — the mist of an autumnal evening- was rising" from the 
fields, and wreathing itself round the hill on which stood the 
huge castle. Gabrielle, placing her lute in Sintram's hands, 
said to him : " Dear youth, I no longer fear entrusting my deli- 
cate favourite to you, now that you are become so mild and 
gentle. Let me again hear you sing that lay of the land of 
flowers, for I am sure that it will now sound much sweeter 
' than when you accompanied it with the vibrations of your 
fearful harp." 

The young knight bowed as he prepared to obey the lady's 
commands. With a grace and softness hitherto strangers to 
him, the wild strains flowed from his lips, and appeared to lose 
their former character, and to change into harmony to which 
angels might have listened. Tears stood in Gabrielle's eyes ; 



CHAP. XI.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



163 



and Sintram, as he gazed on the bright pearly drops, poured 
forth tones of yet richer sweetness. When the last notes were 
sounded, Gabrielle's angelic voice was heard to echo them, and 
as she repeated 

" Sing heigh, sing ho, for that land of flowers," 

Sintram put down the lute, and raised his thankful eyen to- 
wards the stars, which were now stealing out and studdingf the 
whole face of the sky. Then Gabrielle, turning towards her 
lord, murmured these words : " Oh, how long have we been 
wandering far away from our own sunny hills and bright gar- 
dens ! Oh ! for that land of the sweetest flowers !" 

Sintram could scarce believe that he heard aright, so sud- 
denly did he feel himself as if shut out from paradise. But his 
faint hopes of being mistaken were crushed by the assurance of 
Folko, that he would endeavour to fulfil his lady's wishes with 
all possible speed, and that their ship was lying off the shore 
ready to put to sea. She thanked him with a kiss imprinted 
softly on his forehead ; and leaning on his arm she bent her 
steps towards the castle. 

The wi'etched Sintram, neglected and forgotten, remained 
behind, motionless as if he had been turned to stone. At length, 
when the darkness of night had spread itself over the whole 
sky, he started up wildly, ran up and down the garden as if all 
his former madness had taken possession of him, and then 
rushed out, and wandered upon the hills in the pale moonlight. 
There he dashed his sword against the trees and bushes, so 
that all around was heard a sound of crashino- and falling- the 
birds of nis^ht flew about him screeching^ in wild alarm, and the 
deer, startled by the noise, sprung away to take refuge in the 
thickest coverts. 

On a sudden old Rolf appeared, returning home from a visit 
to the chaplain of Drontheim, to whom he had been relating with 
tears of joy, how Sintram was subdued by Gabrielle's mild in- 
fluence, and how they might venture to hope that his evil 
dreams would never again disturb his mind. And now the 



164 



SINTRAM, 



[CIIAP. XI, 



sword of the furious youth had well-nigh wounded the old man 
in some of its fearful thrusts to right and left. He stopped 
short, and, clasping his hands, he said with a deep sigh : " Alas, 
my beloved Sintram, my foster-child ! what madness has seized 
you. and made you thus wild and frantic ?" 

The youth stood awhile as if spell-bound, he looked in his 
old friend's face with a fixed and melancholy gaze, and his eyes 
became dim, like expiring watch-fires seen through a thick 
cloud of .mist. At length he sighed forth these words, almost 
inaudibly : " Good Rolf, good Rolf, depart from me ! I have 
been cast out of your garden of delight ; and if sometimes a 
light breeze blows open its golden gates so that I can look in and 
see the sunny spot where heavenly inhabitants wander to and 
fro, then immediately a cruel cutting wind arises, which shuts 
to the gates, and I remain without, to pass a never-ending 
winter in cheerless desolation." 

" Beloved young knight, oh ! listen to me ; — listen to the 
voice of the good Spirit within you ! Do you not bear in your 
hand that very sword which the bright lady you serve girded 
you with ? Does not her scarf wave over your wildly beating 
heart? Do you not recollect how you used to say, that no 
mortal could wish for more than had been bestowed on your- 
self?" 

" Yes, Rolf, I have said that," replied Sintram, sinking on 
the mossy turf, drowned in bitter tears. The old man wept 
also. Before long the youth stood again erect, his tears ceased to 
flow, his countenance assumed a cold terrible expression, and 
he said : " You see, Rolf, I have passed such blessed peaceful 
days, and I thought within myself that the powers of evil would 
never again have dominion over me. So, perchance, it might 
have been, just as much as daylight would always last were 
the sun never to go below the horizon. But ask the poor be- 
nighted earth, wherefore she looks so dull and dark ! Bid her 
again smile as she was wont to do ! Old man, she cannot 
smile ; — and now that the gentle compassionate moon has dis- 
appeared behind the clouds with her sadly-soothing funeral veil, 



CHAP. XI.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



165 



she cannot even weep. And in this hour of darkness, all that is 
wild and awful wakes up into life ! So do not stop me, I tell 
thee, do not stop me ! Hurrah ! I am rushing behind the pale 
moon !" His voice changed to a hoarse murmur at these last 
words. He tore away from the trembling old man, and rush- 
ed through the forest. Rolf knelt down, and prayed and wept 
silently. 



166 



SINTRAM, 



ci;ap. xii. 



CHAPTER XII. 

Where the sea-beach was wildest, and the ..lifTs most steep and 
rugged, and close by the remains of three shattered oaks, which 
probably marked a place where, in darker times, human vic- 
tims had been sacrificed, now stood Sintram, leaning, as if ex- 
hausted, on his drawn sword, and gazing intently on the danc- 
ing waves. The moon had again shone forth, and as her pale 
beams fell on his motionless figure through the quivering 
branches of the trees, he might have been taken for some fear- 
ful idol image. Suddenly some one, hitherto unnoticed by him, 
half-raised himself out of the withered grass, uttered a faint 
groan, and again lay down. This marvellous conversation then 
arose between the two : 

" Thou that movest thyself so strangely amid the grass, dost 
thou belong to the living or to the dead ?" 

" That is as you may choose to take it. I am dead to heaven 
and joy — I live for hell and anguish." 

" I could fancy that I had already heard thee speak." 

" Oh, yes, thou surely hast." 

" Art thou a troubled spirit ? and was thy life-blood poured 
out here in ancient times ?" 

" I am a troubled spirit ; — but no man ever has, or ever can 
shed my blood. I have been cast down — oh ! into a frightful 
abyss !" 

« And wert thou killed by the fall ?" 

" I am living now, — and I shall live longer than thou." 

" I could almost fancy that thou wert the crazy pilgrim with 
the dead men's bones hanging about him." 

" 1 am not he, although we often consort together, — and, in- 
deed, in the most friendly manner. But to let you into a se- 
cret, he considers me to be mad. If I sometimes urge him, 



CHAP. XII.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



167 



and say to him, ' Take !' — then he hesitates, and points up- 
wards towards the stars. And, again, if I say, ' Take not !' — 
then, to a certainty, he seizes on it in some awkward manner, 
and so he spoils my best joys and pleasures. But, in spite of 
all this, we remain as before, bound by a close alliance, and 
even by a degree of relationship." 

" Give me thy hand, and let me help thee up." 

" Ho, ho ! my active young sir, that might bring you no good. 
Yet, in fact, you have already helped to raise m^. Give heed 
to what is going on around." 

The movements of Sintram's unknown companion seemed to 
become stranger each minute ; thick clouds swept wildly over 
the moon and the stars, and Sintram's thoughts grew no less 
wild and stormy, while far and near an awful howling could 
be heard amidst the trees and the grass. At length the mys- 
terious being arose from the ground. As if to gratify a fear- 
ful curiosity, the moon looked out from behind a cloud, and the 
sudden gleam of light showed the horror-stricken Sintram that 
his companion was none other than the Little Master. 

" Avaunt," cried he, " I will listen no more to your evil sto- 
ries about the knight Paris. They would end by driving me 
quite mad." 

" My stories about Paris are not needed for that !" grinned 
the Little Master. " It is enough that the Helen of your af- 
fections should be journeying towards Montfau9on. Believe 
me, madness has already taken possession of every part of you. 
But what should you say were she to remain ? For that, how- 
ever, you must show me more courtesy than you have of late." 
Therewith he raised his voice towards the sea, as if fiercely re- 
buking it, so that Sintram could not keep from shuddering and 
trembling before the hideous dwarf But he checked himself, 
and grasping his sword-hilt with both hands, he said contemptu- 
ously : " You and Gabrielle ! what acquaintance do you pre- 
tend to have with Gabrielle ?" 

" Not much," was the reply. And the Little Master might 
be seen to quake with fear and rage, hs he continued : " I can-' 



168 SINTRAM, [ CIUP. XII. 

• not well bear to hear the name of your Helen : do not din it in 
my ears ten times in a breath. But if the tempest should in- 
crease ? If the foaming waves should swell, and roll on till 
they form an impenetrable barrier round the whole coast of 
Norway? The voyage to Montfau^on must in that case be 
altogether given up, and your Helen would remain here at least 
through the long, long, dark winter !" 

" If ! if !" replied Sintram, with scorn. " Is the sea your 
bond-slave ? Are tempests obedient to you ?" 

" They are rebels, accursed rebels," muttered the Little Mas- 
ter. " You must lend me your aid, Sir Knight, if I am to 
subdue them ; but you have not the heart for such a service." 

" Boaster, evil boaster !" answered the youth. " What is 
that you require of me ?" 

" It is not much. Sir Knight, nothing at all for one who has 
strength and ardour of soul. You need only look at the sea 
steadily for one half-hour, without ever ceasing to wish in- 
tensely that it should foam and rage and swell, and never again 
become quiet until winter has laid its icy hold upon your 
mountains. Then king Menelaus will be effectually prevented 
from undertaking a voyage to Montfaufon. And now give me 
a lock of your black hair, which is blowing so wildly about 
your head, looking like ravens' or vultures' wings." 

The youth drew his sharp dagger, madly cut off a lock of his 
hair, threw it to the strange being, and according to his direc- 
tions began gazing on the sea, and wishing ardently that a 
storm should arise. And soon the water began to be slightly 
agitated with a motion almost as imperceptible as the murmur- 
ing of one disturbed by uneasy dreams, who would gladly be 
at rest and yet cannot. Sintram was on the point of giving 
up, when the moonbeams fell on the white sails of a ship which 
was going rapidly in a southerly direction. A pang shot 
through his heart, as he was thus forcibly reminded of Gabri- 
elle's departure ; he wished again with all his power, and fixed 
his eyes intently on the watery expanse. " Sintram," a voice 
might have said to him, " ah ! Sintram, can you be indeed the 



cftAP. xii ] AND HIS COMPANIONS. 169 

very same who but so lately was gazing in deep emotion on the 
tearful eyes of Gabrielle ?" 

And now the waves were seen to heave and swell, and the 
howling tempest sv*rept over the ocean ; the breakers, white 
with foam, became visible in the moonlight. Then the Little 
Master threw the lock of Sintram's hair up towards the clouds, 
and as it was blown to and fro by the blast of wind, the storm 
burst in all its fury, so that sea and sky were co\ ered with one 
thick cloud, and far off might be heard the cries of distress from 
many a sinking vessel. 

Just then the crazy pilgrim with the dead-men's bones rose up 
in the midst of the waves, close to the shore ; his height ap- 
peared gigantic as he rocked to and fro in a fearful manner ; 
the boat in which he was standing was entirely hid from sight 
by the raging waves which rose all around it. 

" You must save him. Little Master, you must anyhow save 
him," cried Sintram, his voice rising in a tone of angry en- 
treaty above the roaring of the winds and waves — ^but the dwarf 
replied with a laugh : " Be quite at ease on his account, he will 
be able to save himself The waves can do him no harm. Do 
you see ? They are only begging of him, and therefore they 
jump up so boldly round him. And he gives them bountiful 
alms ; very bountiful, that I can assure you." 

Accordingly the pilgrim was seen to throw some bones in the 
sea, and to pass on his way without suffering damage. Sin- 
tram felt his blood run cold with horror, and he rushed Vvildly 
towards the castle. His companion had either fled or vanished 
away. 



170 



SINTRAM, 



CHAP. X.U. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

BiORN and Gabrielle and Folko of Montfau^on were sitting 
round the great stone table, from which, since the arrival of his 
noble guests, the lord of the castle had cajise I those suits of 
armour to be removed that formerly had been his companions — 
they were placed all together in a heap in one of the adjoining 
apartments. At this time, while the storm was beating so furi- 
ously against doors and windows, it seemed as if the ancient 
armour were also stirring in the next room, and Gabrielle seve- 
ral times half rose from her seat in great alarm, fixing her eyes 
on the small iron door, as though she expected to see an armed 
spectre issue therefrom, bending down his plumed helmet as he 
passed underneath the low vaulted door-way. The knight 
Biorn smiled grimly, and said, as if reading her thoughts : 
" Oh ! he will never again come out thence, I have put an end 
to that for ever." His guests looked at him inquiringly, as if 
anxious to understand his meaning ; and with a strange air of 
unconcern, as though the storm had awakened all the fierce- 
ness of his soul, he began the following history : 

" I was once a happy man myself; I could smile, as you do— 
and I could rejoice in the clear morning air, as you do ; that 
was before the hypocritical chaplain had so worked on the 
pious scruples of my lovely wife, as to induce her to shut her- 
self up in a cloister, and leave me alone with my ungovernable 
child. That was not fair usage on the part of the fair Verena. 
Well, so it was, that in the first days of her dawning beauty, 
before I knew her, many knights sought her hand, amongst 
whom was Sir Weigand the Slender ; and towards him the 
gentle maiden showed herself the most favourably inclined. 
Her parents were well aware that Weigand's rank and station 
were little below their own, and that his firae as a warrior 
without reproach promised to stand high , so that before long if 



CHAP. XIII.I 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



171 



was generally known that Verena and he were betrothed to 
each other. It happened one day that they were walking to- 
gether in the garden of her father's castle, at the time when a 
shepherd was driving his flock up the mountain beyond. The 
maiden took a fancy to a little snow-white lamb which she saw 
frolicking about, and wished to have it. Weigand flew out of 
the garden, overtook the shepherd, and offered him two pieces 
of gold for the lamb. But the shepherd would not part with it, 
and scarcely listened to the knight, going quietly the while up the 
mountain side. Weigand persevered, but failing in his attempts, 
he lost patience, and at last uttered some threat. The shep- 
herd, who was not wanting in the pride and stubbornness of all 
our northern peasants, threatened in return. Suddenly Wei- 
gand's sword glittered above his head — the stroke should have 
fallen lightly — ^but who can control a fiery horse, or an angry 
warrior's arm ? The shepherd's head seemed cleft asunder by 
the blow, he rolled bathed in blood down to the very bottom of 
the precipice — his terrified flock dispersed on the mountains. 
The little lamb alone took refuge in the garden, and, all sprin- 
kled with its master's blood, it laid itself down at Verena's 
feet, as if asking for protection. She took it up in her arms, 
and from that moment never suffered Weigand to appear again 
in her presence. She continued to cherish the little lamb, and 
seemed to take pleasure in nothing else in the world, while she 
became each day more and more pale, like the lilies, and her 
every thought was devoted to Heaven. She would soon have 
taken the veil, but just then I came to aid her father in a war 
in which he was engaged, and saved him from his too powerful 
enemies. As a reward of my services, he prevailed on his 
daughter to give me her fair hand. The overwhelming weight 
of his affliction would not suffer the unhappy Weigand to re- 
main in his own country — he went as a pilgrim to Asia, 
whence our forefathers came, and there he performed won- 
drous deeds of valour, not omitting acts of humiliation and 
penitence. I could not hear him spoken of in those days 
without rny heart being strangely moved with compassion. 
Years rolled by, and he returned, meaning to erect a church 



172 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. XIII. 



or monastery on that mountain, towards the west, whence the 
walls of my castle are distinctly seen. It was said that he 
wished to become a priest there, but it fell out otherwise. For 
Some pirates having sailed from the southern seas towards our 
coasts, and having heard mention made of this monastery 
which wa.s in progress, their chief hoped to find much gold in 
the possession of those who were building it, or to get a large 
ransom for them, if he should succeed in surprising them, and 
carrying them off He could not have known much about the 
valour of northern warriors ! However, he soon arrived, and 
having landed in the creek under the black rocks, he led his 
men through a by-path up to the building, surrounded it, and 
thought in himself that the game was now in his hands. 
Ha ! then out rushed Weigand and his builders, and fell upon 
them with swords, and hatchets, and hammers. The heathens 
fled away to their ships, closely pursued by Weigand. In 
passing by our castle, he caught a sight of Verena on the 
terrace, and, for the first time during so many years, she be- 
stowed a courteous and kind salutation on the victorious war- 
rior. At that moment a dagger, hurled by one of the pirates 
in the midst of his hasty flight, struck Weigand's uncovered 
head, and he fell to the ground bleeding and insensible. We 
completed the rout of the heathens : then I directed the wounded 
knight to be brought into the castle ; and my Verena's pale 
cheeks glowed as lilies do in the light of the morning sun, and 
Weigand opened his eyes with a smile when he was brought 
naar her. He refused to be taken into any room but the small 
one close to this, where the armour is now placed ; for he said 
that he felt as if it were a cell like that which he hoped soon 
to inhabit in. the quiet cloister he was erecting. All was done 
conformably to his desire ; my sweet Verena nursed him, and 
he appeared at first to be advancing favourably towards re- 
covery, but his head continued weak, and liable to be confused 
by the slightest emotion — his steps were faltering, and his cheeks 
colourless. We would not suffer him to depart. When we 
were sitting here together in the evening, he used always to 
fome tottering into the hall through ftie low doorway; and my 



CHAP. XIII.J 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



173 



heart was sad, and wrathful too, when the soft eyes of Verena 
beamed so sweetly on him, and a glow like that of the evening 
sky lighted up her pale countenance. But I bore it, and 1 
could have borne it to the end of our lives, — when, alas ! Verena 
shut herself up in a cloister !" 

His head fell so heavily on his folded hands, that the stone 
table groaned under it, and he remained a long while motion- 
less as a corpse. When he again raised himself up, his eyes 
glared as he looked round the hall, and he said to Folko: 
" Your beloved Hamburghers, Gotthard Lentz, and Rudlieb his 
son, they have much to answer for ! Who bid them come and 
be shipwrecked so close to my castle 

Folko cast a piercing look on him, and a fearful inquiry was 
on the point of escaping his lips, but another look at the trem- 
bling Gabrielle caused him to refrain, at least for the present 
moment, and the knight Biorn continued his narrative : 

" Verena was with her nuns, I was left alone, and my des- 
pair had driven me to the mountains and the forest during the 
whole day. Towards evening I returned to my deserted cas- 
tle, and scarcely was I in the hall, when the little door creaked 
on its hinges, and Weigand, who had slept through all, crept 
towards me and asked : ^ Where can Verena be V Then I 
became like one out of his senses, and I shouted, ' She is gone 
mad, and so am I, and you also, and now we are all mad !' 
Merciful Heaven, the wound on his head burst open, and a 
dark .red stream flowed over his face — alas ! how different from 
the redness which overspread it when Verena met him at the 
castle gate, — and he rushed forth, raving mad, into the wilder- 
ness without, and ever since has wandered all around, as a 
cvazy pilgrim." 

He was silent, and so were Folko and Gabrielle, — all three 
pale and cold, like images of the dead. At length the fearfuJ 
narrator added in a low voice, and as if he were quite exhaust- 
ed : • " He has visited me since that time, but he will never again 
come through the low door-way. Have I not established peace 
and order in mv castle ?" 



174 



SIN TRAM, 



[chap. XIV. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Sin TRAM had not returned home, when the inhabit; jits of the 
castle betook themselves to rest in great disturbance of mind. 
No one thought of him, for every heart was filled with strange 
forebodings of evil, and with undefined anxiety. Even the 
firm heroic spirit of the knight of Montfau^on did not escape 
t">e general agitation. 

Old Rolf still remained without, weeping in the forest, heed- 
less of the storm which beat on his unprotected head, while he 
waited for his young master. But he had gone a very different 
way; and when the morning dawned, he entered the castle 
from the opposite side. 

Gabrielle's slumbers had been but too sweet during the whole 
night. It had seemed to her that angels with golden wings had 
blown away the wild histories she had listened to the evening 
before, and had wafted to her the bright flowers, the sparkling 
sea, and the green hills of her own home. She smiled, and 
drew her breath calmly and softly, whilst the supernatural tem- 
pest raged and howled through the forests, and kept up a fear-^ 
ful conflict with the troubled sea. But, in truth, when she awoke 
in the morning, and heard the crashing of the storm still con- 
tinuing, and saw the clouds still hiding the face of the heavens, 
she could have wept for anxiety and sadness, especially when 
she heard from her maidens that Folko had already left their 
apartment clad in full armour as if prepared for a combat. At 
the same time she could distinguish the sound of the heavy 
tread of armed men in the echoing halls, and, on inquiring, 
found that the knight of Montfau9on h.id assembled all his re- 
tainers to be in readiness to protect their lady. 

Wrapped in a cloak of ermine, she stood trembling like a 
tender flower which has just sprung up out of the snow, and is 



CHAP. XIV.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



175 



exposed to the rude blasts of a winter's storm. At that mo- 
ment Sir Folko entered the room, arrayed in his brilliant ar- 
mourj and in peaceful guise carrying his golden helmet, with 
the long shadowy plumes in his hand. He saluted Gabrielle 
with an air of cheerful serenity, and, at a sign from him, hia 
attendants retired — the men-at-arms without were heard quietly 
dispersing. 

" Lady," said he, as he took his seat beside her m a couch 
to which he led her, already re-assured by his presence ; 
" Lady, will you forgive your knight for having left yoa to en- 
dure some moments of anxiety, whilst he was obeying the call 
of honour and the stern voice of duty. Now all is set in order, 
quietly and peacefully ; dismiss your fears and every thought 
that has troubled you, as things that have no longer any ex- 
istence." 

" But you and Biorn ?" asked Gabrielle. 

" On the word of a knight," replied he, " all is as it should 
be." And thereupon he began to talk over indifferent subjects 
with his usual ease and vivacity ; but Gabrielle, bending to- 
wards him, said, with deep emotion : 

" Oh Folko, my knight, the guiding star of my life, my pro- 
tector, and my dearest hope on earth, tell me all, if you may. 
If you are bound by a promise to keep any thing secret, I ask 
no more. You know that I am of the race of Portamour, and 
I would ask nothing from my knight which could cast even a 
breath of suspicion on his spotless shield." 

Folko thought gravely for one instant, then looking at her 
with a bright smile, he said : " It is not that, Gabrielle, but can 
you bear what 1 have to disclose ? Will you not sink down at 
the tidings, as a slender fir gives way under a mass of snow?" 

She raised herself with a somewhat proud air, and said : " I 
have already reminded you of the name of my father's house. 
Let m.e now add that I am the w^edded wife of the Baron of 
Montfaugon." 

" Then so let it be," replied Folko solemnly ; " and if that 
must come forth opcnl}" wliicli should ever hrive remained hid* 



176 SINTRAM, ^iap. xiw 

den in the darkne§3 which belongs to such deeds of wickedness, 
at least the horror of longer expectation shall not be added to 
it. Know then, Gabrielle, that the wicked knight who attempted 
the destruction of my friends Gotthard and Rudlieb, is none 
other than our kinsman and host, Biorn of the Fiery Eyes." 

Gabrielle shuddered and covered her eyes with her fair 
hands ; but at the end of a moment she looked up with a be- 
wildered air, and said : " I have heard wrong surely, although 
i is true that yesterday evening such a thought flashed across 
my mind. For did not you say awhile ago that all was settled 
and at peace between you and Biorn? Between the brave 
baron and such a man after such a crime ?" 

" You heard aright," answ^ered Folko, looking with fond de- 
light on the delicate, yet noble spirited being beside him. 
" This morning with the earliest dawn I went to him and chal- 
lenged him to a mortal combat in the neighbouring valley, if he 
were the man to whose cruelty Gotthard and Rudlieb had so 
well nigh fallen victims. He was already completely armed, 
and merely saying, ^ I am he,' he led the way towards the 
forest. But when we stood alone at the place of combat, he 
flung away his shield down a giddy precipice, then his sword 
was hurled after it, and next with gigantic strength he tore ofl' 
his coat of mail, and said : ' Now fall on, thou minister of ven- 
geance, for I am a man laden with guilt, and I dare not fight 
with thee.' How could I then attack him ? A strange kind 
of truce was agreed on between us, — he is to be my vassal to 
a certain extent, and yet I solemnly forgave him in my own 
name and in that of my friends. He was contrite, and yet no 
tear was in his eye, no word of penitence on his lips. He is only 
kept under by the power with which I am endued by having 
right on my side, and it is on that tenure that Biorn is my vas- 
sal. I know not, lady, whether you can bear to see us together 
on these terms ; if not, I will ask for hospitality in some other 
castle — there are none in Norway which would not receive us 
joyfully and honourably, and this wild autumnal storm may 
put off our voyage for man}" i day. Only I feel persuaded of 



CHAP. XIV.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



177 



this, that if we depart directly and in such a manner, the heart 
of this savage man will break." 

" Where my noble lord remains, there am I content to re- 
main also ander his protection," replied Gabrielle, and again 
her heart glowed with rapture at the greatness of her knight 



19 



178 



SINTRAM, 



[CHKT. S.ff 



CHAPTER XV. 

The noble kdy had just unbuckled her knight's armour wnh 
her own fair hands, — for it was only on the field of battle that 
pages or esquires were permitted to perform that office for 
Montfau9on, — and now she was throwing over his shoulders his 
mantle of blue velvet embroidered with gold, when the door 
opened gently, and Sintram, entering the room, saluted them 
with an air of deep humility. Gabrielle received him kindly 
as she was wont, but, suddenly turning pale, she looked away 
and said : " Oh ! Sintram, what has happened to you ? Ami 
how can one single night have so fearfully altered you ?" 

Sintram stood still, thunderstruck, and feeling as if he him- 
self did not know what had befallen him. Then Folko took 
him by the hand, led him towards a bright polished shield, and 
said very earnestly: "Look here at yourseK young knight!" 

No sooner had Sintram cast a glance » he mirror than he 
drew back with horror. He fancied that he saw the Little 
Master before him with that single upright feather sticking out 
of his cap ; but he at length perceived that the mirror was only 
showing him his own image and none other, and that it was 
owing to the lock of hair cut off by his own dagger that his 
whole appearance had become so strange, nay, even unearthly, 
as he was obliged to confess himself 

" Who has done that to you," asked Folko in a tone yet 
more grave and solemn. " And why does your disordered 
hair stand on end ?" 

Sintram knew not what to answer. He felt as if he were 
standing to be judged, and as if his sentence could be none 
other than a shameful degradation from his knightly rank. 
Suddenly Folko drew him away from the shield, and taking 
him towards the window against which the storm was beating, 
he asked : " Whence comes this tempest ?" 



CHAP. 'V. 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



179 



Still Sintram kept silence. His limbs began to tremble un- 
Lei him, and Gabrielle, pale and terrified, whispered : " Oh 
Folko, my knight, what has happened ? Oh tell me ; are we 
come into an evil enchanted castle ?" 

" The land of our Northern ancestors," replied Folko with 
solemnity, " is full of mysterious knowledge. But we may not, 
for all that, call its people enchanters ; still this youth has good 
cause to watch himself narrowly; he whom the Evil One has 
touched by so much as one hair of his head " 

Sintram heard no more ; with a deep groan he staggered out 
of the room. As he left it, he met old Rolf, still almost be- 
numbed by his exposure to the cold and storms of the night. 
Now in his joy at again seeing his young master, he did not 
remark his altered appearance ; but as he accompanied him to 
his sleeping room, he said : " Witches and spirits of the tempest 
must have taken up their abode on the sea-shore. I am certain 
that such wild storms never arise without some magical arts." 

Sintram fell into a fainting-fit, {torn which Rolf could with 
difficulty recover him sufficiently to appear in the great hall at 
the mid-day repast. But before he went down, he caused a 
mirror to be brought, and having again surveyed himself there- 
in with grief and horror, he cut close rouiJd ail the rest of his 
long black hair, so that he made himself look almost like a 
monk, and thus he joined the party already assembled round 
the table. They all looked at him with surprise, but old Biorn 
rose up and said fiercely : " Are you going to betake yourself to 
a cloister as well as the fair lady, your mother ?" 

A commanding look from the Baron of Montfaufon checked 
any farther outbreak, and, as if in apology, Biorn added with a 
forced smile : " I was only thinking if any accident had befal- 
len him, like Absalom's, and if he had been obliged to save him- 
self from being strangled by parting with all his hair." 

" You should not jest on sacred subjects," answered the Baron 
severely, and all were silent. No sooner was the repast ended 
than Folko and Gabrielle, with grave and courteous salutation, 
retired to their own apartments. 



180 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. XVI 



CHAPTER XVI. 

After this time a great change took place in tho mode of living" 
jf the inhabitants of the castle. Those two bright beings, Folko 
and Gabrielle, spent most part of the day in their apartments, 
and when they appeared below, their intercourse with Biorn and 
Sintram was marked b}'- a grave dignified reserve on their part 
and by humility mixed with fear on that of their hosts Never- 
theless, Biorn could not endure the thought of his guests seek- 
ing shelter in any other knight's abode. Once that Folko said a 
word on the subject, something like a tear stood in the wild man's 
eye — his head sank, and he said in a scarcely audible voice : 
It must be as you please : but I feel that if you go, I shall fly 
to the caves and rocks in despair." 

And thus they all remained together ; for the storm continued 
to rage with such increasing fury over the sea, that no thought 
of embarking could be entertained, and the oldest man in Nor- 
way could not call to mind having witnessed such an autumn. 
The priests examined all the Runic books, the bards looked 
through their store of lays and tales, and yet they could find 
no record of the like. Biorn and Sintram braved the tempest; 
but during the few hours in which Folko and Gabrielle show- 
ed themselves, the father and son were always in the castle, in 
respectful attendance upon them ; the rest of the day — nay, 
even frequently, the whole night long, they rushed through the 
forests and over the rocks in pursuit of bears. Folko, the 
while, summoned to his aid all the brightness of his fancy, all 
the courtly grace he was endowed with, in ord'^r to make Ga- 
brielle forget that she was living in this wild castlfi, and that the 
long hard northern winter was setting in, which would keep her 
there an ice-bound prisoner for many a month. Som^^t^mes he 
would relate t'les of deep interest ; then he would play the 



cii\r. XVI. ] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



181 



liveliest airs to induce Gabrielle to tread a measure with her 
attendants ; then, again, handing his lute to one of the women, 
he would himself take a part in the dance, never failing to ex- 
press by his gestures his homage end devotion to his lady. 
Another time he would have the spacious halls of the castle 
prepared for his armed retainers to go through their warlike 
exercises and trials of strength, and Gabrielle always adjudged 
the reward to the conqueror. Folko often joined the circle of 
combatants ; but always took care to deprive no one of the prize, 
by confining his efforts merely to parrying the blows aimed at 
him. The Norwegians, who stood around as spectators, used to 
compare him to the demi-god Baldur, one of the heroes of, their 
old traditions, who was wont to let the darts of. his companions 
be all hurled against him, conscious that he was invulnerable, 
and trusting in his own inherent strength. 

At the close of one of these martial exercises, old Rolf ad- 
vanced towards Folko, and beckoning him with an humble look, 
he said softly : " They call you Baldur the brave, the good — 
and they are right. But even the good and brave Baldur did 
not escape death. Take heed to yourself" Folko looked at 
him with surprise. " Not that I know of any treacherous 
design against you," continued the old man ; " or that I can 
even foresee the likelihood of any being formed. God forbid 
that a Norwegian should feel such a fear. But when you 
stand before me in all the brightness of your glory, the fleeting- 
ness of everything earthly is brought strongly to my mind, and 
I cannot refrain from saying, ' Take heed, noble baron ! oh, 
take heed ! There is nothing, however great, which does not 
come to an end.' " 

" Those are wise and pious thoughts," replied Folko, calmly, 
"and I will treasure them in my inmost heart." 

The good Rolf spen: frequently some time with Folko and 
Gabrielle, and seemed to form a connecting link between the 
two widely-differing parties in the castle. For how could he 
have ever forsaken his own Sintram ! It was only in their wild 
hunting expeditions, when they had no regard to the storms and 



182 



SINIRAM, 



[chap. XVI. 



tempests which were raging, that he no longer was able to fol- 
low his young lord. 

At length the icy reign of winter began in all its glory. 
The season was sufficient of itself to prevent a return to Noi- 
mandy being thought of, and therefore the storm which had 
been raised by magical art, was lulled. The hills and valleys 
shone brilliantly in their white attire of snow, and Folko used 
sometimes, with skates on his feet, to draw his lady in a .tight 
sledge over the glittering frozen lakes and streams. On the 
other hand, the bear-hunts of the lord of the castle and his son 
assumed a still more desperate and to them enjoyable asi.(ect. 

About this time, — when Christmas was drawing near, and 
Sintram was seeking to overpower his apprehensions of the 
fearful dreams which were wont to trouble him then, by the 
most daring expedition?, — about this time, Folko and Gabrielle 
chanced to be standing together on one of the terraces of the 
castle. The evening was mild ; the snow-clad fields were glow- 
ing in the red light of the setting sun ; from below there were 
heard men's voices sinsfino- song-s of ancient heroic times, while 
they worked in the armourer's forge. At last the songs died 
away, the beating of hammers ceased, and without the speakers 
being visible, or there being any possibility of distinguishing 
them by their voices, the following discourse was distinctly 
heard : — 

" Who is the bravest amongst all those whose race derives its 
origin from our renowned land ?" 
" It is Folko of Montfau?on." 

" Rightly said ; but, tell me, is there any danger from which 
i en this bold baron draws back ?" 

" In truth there is one thing, — and we who have never Lft 
Ncrway, face it quite willingly and joyfully." 

« And that is ?" 

" A bear-hunt in winter, over trackless plains of snow, down 
frightful ice-covered precipices." 

" Truly thou answerest aright, my comrade. He who knows 
not how to flisten our skates on his feet, how to turn in them to 



CHAP. XVI.'' 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



163 



the right or left at a moment's warning, he may he a valiant 
knight in other respects, hut he had better keep away from our 
hunting parties, and remain with his timid wife in her apart- 
ments." At which the speakers were heard to laugh as if 
well pleased, and then to betake themselves again to their ar- 
mourers' work. 

Folko stood long buried in thought. A glow beyond that of 
the evening sky reddened his cheek. Gabrielle also remained 
silent, revolving in her mind that for which she was unable to 
find words. At last she took courage, and embracing her be- 
loved, she said : " To-morrow you will go forth to hunt the 
bear, will you not ? and you will bring the spoils of the chase 
to your lady 

The knight gave a joyful sign of assent ; and the rest of the 
evening was spent in dances and music. 



184 



SINTRAM, 



^CHAP. XVIl 



CHAPTER XVIL 

" See, my noble lord," said Sintram the next nnrning, when 
Folko had expressed his wish of going out w^ith him, " these 
skates of ours give such wings to our course that we go down 
the mountain-side more swiftly than the wind, and even in go- 
ing up again we are too quick for any one to be able to pursue 
us, and on the plains no horse can keep up w^ith us, and yet they 
can only be worn with safety by those who are well practised. 
It seems as though some strange spirit dwelt in them, which is 
fearfully dangerous to any that have not learnt the manage- 
ment of them in their childhood." 

Folko answered somewhat proudly : " Do you suppose that 
this is the first time that I have been amongst your mountains ? 
Years ago I have joined in this sport, and, thank Heaven ! there 
is no knightly exercise which does not speedily become familiar 
to me." 

Sintram did not venture to make any further objections, and 
stijl less did old Biorn. They both felt relieved when they saw 
with what skill and ease Folko buckled the skates on his feet, 
without suffering any one to assist him. This day they hunted 
up the mountain, in pursuit of a fierce bear which had often 
before escaped from them. Before long it was necessary that 
they should separate into different parties, and Sintram offered 
himself as companion to Folko, who, touched by the humble 
manner of the youth, and his devotion to him, forgot all that 
had disturbed him latterly in the pale, altered being before him, 
and agreed heartily to his proposal. As now they continued to 
climb higher and higher up the mountain, and saw from many 
a giddy height the rocks and crags below them looking like a 
vast expanse of sea suddenly turned into ice whilst tossed by a 
violent tempest the noble Montfau^on drew his breath more 



Cli\P. XVII.] 



AND lilo COMPANIONS. 



185 



freely. He poured forth war-songs and love-songs in the clear 
mountain air, and the startled echoes repeated from rock to 
rock the lays of his southern home. He sprang lightly from 
one precipice to another, making use skilfully of the staff with 
which he was furnished for support, and turning now to the 
right, now to the left, as the fancy seized him, so that Sintram 
was fain to exchange his former anxiety for a wondering ad- 
ipiiration, and the hunters, whose eyes had never been taken off 
the baron, burst forth with loud applause, proclaiming far and 
wide this fresh proof of his prowess. 

The good fortune which usually accompanied Folko's deeds 
of arms, seemed still unwilling to leave him. After a short 
search, he and Sintram found distinct traces of the savage ani- 
mal they were pursuing, and with beating hearts they followed 
the track so swiftly, that even a winged enemy would have been 
unable to escape from them. But the creature whom they 
sought did not attempt a flight — he lay sulkily ensconced in u 
cavern near the top of a steep precipitous rock, infuriated by 
the shouts of the hunters, and only waiting in his lazy fury 
for some one to be bold enough to climb up to his retreat, that 
he might tear him to pieces. Folko and Sintram had now 
reached the foot of this rock, the rest of the hunters being 
dispersed over the far-extending plain. The track led the 
two companions up the rock, and they set about climbing on 
the opposite sides of it, that they might be the more sure of not 
missing their prey. Folko reached the lonely topmost point 
first, and cast his eyes around. A wide, boundless tract of 
country, covered with untrodden snow, was spread before 
him, melting in the distance into the lowering clouds of the 
gloomy evening sky. He almost thought that he must have 
missed the traces of the fearful animal ; when close beside 
him from a cleft in the rock, issued a long- g-rowl. and a huo-e 
black bear appeared on the snow, standing on its hind legs, and 
with glaring eyes it advanced towards the baron. Sintram the 
while was struggling in vain to make his way up the rock 



186 



SINTRAM, 



[CHAP. XXli. 



against the masses of snow which were continually slipping 
down upon him. 

Rejoicing in an adventure such as he had not encountered 
for yearSj and which now appeared new to him, Folko of Mont- 
fau^on levelled his hunting spear, and awaited the attack of the 
wild beast. He suffered it to approach so near that its fearful 
claws were almost upon him ; then he made a thrust, and the 
spear was buried deep in the bear's breast. But the furious 
beast still pressed on with a fierce growl, kept up on its hind 
legs by the cross iron of the spear, and the knight was forced 
to use all his strength not to lose his footing and to resist the 
SAvage assault ; and the whole time there was the grim face of 
the bear all covered with blood, close before him, and sounding 
in his ear was its deep savage growl, which told of its thirst for 
blood, even in the midst of its death-struggles. At length the 
bear's resistance grew weaker, and the dark blood streamed 
upon the snow; one powerful thrust hurled him backwards 
over the edge of the precipice. At the same instant, Sintram 
stood by the baron of Montfau9on. Folko said, drawing a deep 
breath : " But I have not yet the prize in my hands, and have 
it I must, since fortune has given me a claim to it. Look, one 
of my skates seems to be out of order. Do you think, Sintram, 
that it is in such a state as not to hinder me in sliding down 
to the foot of the precipice ?" 

" Let me go instead," said Sintram. " I will bring you the 
head and the claws of the bear." 

" A true knight," replied Folko with some displeasure, " never 
leaves his work to be finished by another. What I ask is, 
whether my skate is still fit for use ?" 

As Sintram bent down to look, and was on the point of say- 
ing " No !" he suddenly heard a voice close to him, saying : 
" Why, yes ! to be sure ; there is no doubt about it," 

Folko thought that Sintram had spoken, and darted off with 
the swiftness of an arrow, whilst his companion looked up in 
great surprise. The abhorred features of the Little Master 
met his eyes. As he was going to address him with angry 



CHAP. XVM.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



187 



words, he heard the sound of the baron's fearful fall down the 
precipice, and he stood still in silent horror. There was a 
breathless silence also in the abyss below. 

" Now, why do you delay ?" said the Little Master, after a 
pause. " He is dashed to pieces. Go back to the castle, and 
take the fair Helen to yourself" 

Sintram shuddered. Then his detestable companion began 
to extol Gabrielle's charms in such glowing, deceiving words, 
that the heart of the youth swelled with a torrent of emotions 
he had never before known. He only thought of him who was 
now lying at the foot of the rock as of an obstacle removed from 
his way to Paradise ; he turned towards the castle. 

But a cry was heard below : " Help ! help ! my comrade ! I 
am yet alive, but I am sorely wounded." 

Sintram's will was changed, and he called to the baron : " I 
am coming." 

But the Little Master said : " Nothing can be done to help 
king Menelaus ; and the fair Helen knows it already. She 
is only waiting for knight Paris to comfort her." And with 
detestable craft he wove in that tale with what was actually 
happening, bringing in the most highly wrought praises of the 
lovely Gabrielle ; and alas ! the blinded youth barkened to him, 
and fled away ! Again he heard far off the baron's voice call- 
ing to him : " Knight Sintram, knight Sintram, you on whom I 
bestowed that noble order, haste to me and help me ! The 
she-bear and her whelps will be upon me, and I cannot use my 
right arm! knight Sintram, knight Sintram, haste to help 
me!" 

His cries were overpowered by the furious speed with which 
the two were carried along on their skates, and by the evil 
words of the Little Master, who was mocking at the late proud 
bearing of king Menelaus towards the miserable Sintram. At 
last he shouted : " Good luck to you, she-bear ! good luck to 
your whelps ! There is a glorious meal for you ! Now you 
will destroy the fear of Heathendom, him at whose name the 
Moorish women weep, the mighty Baron of Montfau9on. Nevei 



188 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. x\n. 



again, oh ! dainty knight, will you shout at the head of your 
troops, ' Mountjoy St. Denys !' " But scarce had this holj 
name passed the lips of the Little Master, than he set up a 
howl of anguish, writhing himself with horrible contortions, and 
wringing his hands, and he ended by disappearing in a storm 
of snow which then arose. 

Sintram planted his staff firmly in the ground, and stopped. 
How strangely did the wide expanse of snow, the distant moun- 
tains rising above it. and the dark green fir woods, — how 
strangely did they all look at him in cold reproachful si- 
lence ! He felt as if he must sink under the weight of his 
sorrow and his guilt. The bell of a distant hermitage came 
floating sadly over the plain. With a burst of tears he ex- 
claimed, as the darkness grew thicker around him: "My mo- 
ther ! my mother ! I had once a beloved tender mother, and 
she said I was a good child !" A ray of comfort came to him 
as if brought on an angel's wing ; perhaps Montfaufon was not 
yet dead ! and he flew like lightning along the path which led 
back to the steep rock. When he got to the fearful place, he 
stooped and looked anxiously down the precipice. The moon 
which had just risen in full majesty helped him with her light. 
The knight of Montfaufon, pale and covered with blood, was 
supporting himself on one knee, and leaning against the rock — 
his right arm, which had been crushed in his fall, hung power- 
less at his side ; it was plain that he had not been able to draw 
his good sword out of the scabbard. But, nevertheless, he was 
keeping the bear and her young ones at bay by his bold threat- 
ening looks, so that they only crept round him, growling angri- 
ly ; every moment ready for a fierce attack, but as often driven 
back affrighted at the majestic air by which he conquered even 
when defenceless. 

" Oh ! what a knight would here have perished !" groaned 
Sintram, "and through whose guilt?" At that instant his spear 
flew with so true an aim that the bear fell weltering in her 
blood ; the young ones ran away howling. 

The baron looked up with surprise. His countenance beam 



CHAP. XVII.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



189 



ed as the light of the moon fell upon it, with a grave and stern, 
yet mild expression, like some angelic vision. He made a sign 
to Sintram to come to him, and the youth slid down the side of 
the precipice, full of anxious haste. He was going to attend to 
the wounded knight, but Folko said : " First cut off the head 
and claws of the bear which I slew. I promised to bring the 
spoils of the chase to my lovely Gabrielle, Then come to me, 
and bind up my wounds. My right arm is broken." Sintraia 
obeyed the baron's commands. When the tokens of victory had 
been secured, and the broken arm bound up, Folko desired the 
youth to help him back to the castle. 

"Oh Heavens!" said Sintram in a low voice, "if I dared to 
look in your face ! or only knew how to come near you !" 

You were indeed going on in an evil course," said Mont- 
faufon, gravely ; " but how could we, any of us, stand before 
God, did we not bring repentance with us ! Anyhow you have 
now saved my life, and let that thought cheer your heart." 

The youth with tenderness and strength supported "-.he baron'a 
left arm, and they both went their way silently in the moon- 
light 



190 



SINTRAM, 



[chap, sviu 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Sounds of wailing were heard from the castle as they ap 
proached, the chapel was solemnly lighted up , within it 
knelt Gabrielle, lamenting for the death of the knight of Mont- 
fau^on. 

But ho w quickly was the scene changed, when the noble 
baron, pale indeed, and wounded, yet having escaped the 
dangers that beset his life, stood smiling at the entrance of the 
holy building, and said in a low, gentle voice : " Look up, 
Gabrielle, and be not affrighted ; for by the honour of my race, 
your knight still lives." Oh! with what joy did Gabrielle's 
eyes sparkle, as she turned to her knight and then raised them 
again to heaven ; the tears which still streamed from them 
having now their source in the deep joy of thankfulness ! With 
the help of two pages, Folko knelt down beside her, and they 
both offered up a silent prayer of thanksgiving for their present 
happiness. 

When they all left the chapel, the wounded knight being 
tenderly supported by his lady, Sintram was standing without 
in the darkness, himself as gloomy as the night, and like a bird 
of the night shunning the sight of man. Yet he came trembling 
forward into the torch-light, laid the bear's head and claws at 
the feet of Gabrielle, and said : " The noble Folko of Pvlont- 
fau9on presents the spoils of to-day's chase to his lady." 

The Norwegians burst forth with shouts of joyful surprise 
at the stranger knight, who in the very first hunting expedition 
had slain the most fearful and dangerous beast of their moun- 
tains. 

Then Folko looked around with a smile as he said : " And 
now none of you must jeer at me, if I stay at home for a short 
time with my timid wife." 



CHAP. XVIII.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



191 



Those who the day before had talked together in the armour- 
er's forge, came out from the crowd, and bowing low, they re- 
plied : " Noble baron, who could have thought that there was 
no knightly exercise in the whole world, in which you would 
not show yourself far above all other men ?" 

" The pupil of old Sir Hugh may be somewhat trusted," an- 
swered Folko kindly. " But now, you bold northern warriors, 
bestow some praises also on my deliverer, who saved me from 
the claws of the she-bear, when I was lying under the rock 
wounded by my fall." 

He pointed to Sintram, and the general shout was again 
raised, and old Rolf, his eyes dim with tears of joy, bent his 
head over his foster-son's hand. But Sintram drew back shud- 
dering. 

" Did you but know," he said, " whom you see before you, 
all your spears would be aimed at my heart ; and perhaps that 
would be the best thing that could befal me. But I spare the 
honour of my father and of his race, and for this time I will 
not make a confession. Only this much must you hear, noble 
warriors." 

" Young man," interrupted Folko, with a reproving look, 
" already again so wild and fierce? I desire that you will hold 
your peace about your dreaming fancies." 

Sintram was silenced for a moment, but hardly had Folko 
begun to move towards the steps of the castle, than he cried 
out : " Oh no, no, noble wounded knight, stay yet awhile ; I 
will serve you in everything that your heart can desire ; but 
this once I cannot obey you. Brave warriors, you must and 
shall know so much as this : I am no longer worthy to live un- 
der the same roof with the noble baron of Montfau^on and his 
angelic lady Gabrielle. And you, my aged father, farewell : 
take no further heed of me. I intend to live in the stone for- 
tress on the rocks of the Moon, until a change of some kind 
comes over me." 

There was that in his way of speaking against which no one 
dared to urge any opposition, not even Folko himself. 



192 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. XVIII. 



The wild Biorn bowed his head humbly, and said : " Do ac- 
cording to your pleasure, my poor son ; for I much fear that 
you are right." 

Then Sin tram walked solemnly and silently through the cas- 
tle gate, followed by the good Rolf Gabrieile led her ex- 
hausted lord up to their apartments. 



CHAP. XIX.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



193 



CHAPTER XIX. 

That was a mournful journey on which the youth and his aged 
foster-father went towards the Rocks of the Moon, through the 
wild tangled paths of the snow-covered vallies. Rolf from time 
to time sang some verses of hymns, in which comfort and peace 
were promised to the penitent sinner, and Sintram thanked him 
for them with looks of grateful sadness. Otherwise neither of 
them spoke a word. 

At length, when the dawn of day was approaching, Sintram 
broke silence by saying : " Who are those two, sitting yonder 
by the frozen stream ? A tall man, and a little one. Their 
own wild hearts must have driven them also forth into the wil- 
derness. Rolf, do you know them ? The sight of them makes 
me shudder." 

Sir," answered the old man, "your disturbed mind deceives 
you. Where you are looking, there stands a lofty fir-tree, and 
the old weather-beaten stump of an oak, half-covered with snow, 
which gives them a somewhat strange appearance. There are 
no men sitting yonder." 

" But, Rolf, look there ! Look again carefully ! Now they 
move, they whisper together." 

" Sir, the morning breeze moves the branches, and whistles 
in the sharp pine-leaves, and in the yellow oak-leaves, and rus- 
tles the crisp snow." 

" Rolf, now they are both coming towards us. Now they 
are standing before us ; they are quite close." 

" Sir, it is we who get nearer to them as we walk on, and 
the setting moon throws such long gaint-like shadows over the 
plain." 

" Good evening I" said a hollow voice, and Sintram knew it 
14 



194 



SINTRAM, 



I^CHAP. XIX. 



was the crazy pilgrim, near to whom stood the malignant dwarf, 
looking more hideous than ever. 

" You are right, Sir knight^" whispered Rolf, as he drew back 
behind Sintram, and made the sign of the Cross on his breast 
and forehead. 

The bewildered youth, however, advanced towards the two 
figures, and said : " You have always taken wonderful pleasure 
in being my companions. What do you expect will come of it? 
And do you choose to go now with me to the stone fortress? 
There 1 will tend you, poor pale pilgrim ; and as to you, fright- 
ful Master, most evil dwarf, I will make you shorter by th»'. 
head, to reward you for your deeds yesterday." 

" That would be a fine thing," sneered the Little Master ; 
" and perhaps you imagine that you would be doing a great 
service to the whole world? And indeed, who knows? Some- 
thing might be gained by it ! Only, poor wretch, you cannot 
do it." 

The pilgrim meantime was waving his pale head to and fro 
thoughtfully, saying : " I believe truly, that you would willing- 
ly have me, and I would go to you willingly, but I may not 
yet. Have patience awhile ; you will yet surely see me come, 
but at a distant time, and, first, we must again visit your father 
together, and then also you will learn to call me by my right 
name, my poor friend." 

" Beware of disappointing me again !" said Little Master to 
the pilgrim in a threatening voice ; but he, pointing with his 
long, shrivelled hand towards the sun, which was just now 
rising, said : " Stop either that sun or me, if you can !" 

Then the first rays fell on the snow, and Little Master ran 
down a precipice, scolding as he went, but the pilgrim w^alked 
on in the bright beams, calmly and with great solemnity, to- 
wards a neighboring castle on the mountain. It was not long 
before its chapel bell was heard tolling for the dead. 

" For Heaven's sake," whispered the good Rolf to his knight, 
" for Heaven's sake, Sir Sintram, what kind of companions 
have you here ? One of them cannot bear the light of God's 



CHAP. XIX.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



195 



blessed sun, and the other has no sooner set a foot in a dwelling, 
than the passing-bell is heard from thence. Could he have been 
a murderer?" 

" I do not think that," said Sintram. " He seemed to me the 
best of the two. But it is a strange wilfulness of his not to 
come with me. Did I not invite him kindly? I believe that 
he can sing well, and he should have sung to me some gentle 
lullaby. Since my mother has lived in a cloister, no one sings 
lullabies to me any more." 

At this tender recollection his eyes were bedewed with tears. 
But he did not himself know what he had said besides, for there 
was wildness and confusion in his spirit. They arrived at the 
Rocks of the Moon, they mounted up to the stone fortress. The 
castellan, an old, gloomy man, who was all the more devoted 
to the j^oung knight from his dark melancholy and wild deeds, 
hastened lo lower the drawbridge. Greetings were exchanged 
in silence, and in silence did Sintram enter, and those joyless 
gates closed with a crash behind the future recluse. 



196 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. XX. 



CHAPTER XX. 

YeSj truly, a recluse, or at least something like it, did poor 
Sintram now become! For towards the time of the appi cach- 
ing Christmas Festival his fearful dreams came over him, and 
seized him so fiercely, that all the esquires and servants fled 
with shrieks out of the castle, and would never venture back 
again. No one remained with him except Rolf and the old cas- 
tellan. After a while, indeed, Sintram became calm, but he 
went about looking so pallid and subdued, that he might have 
been taken for a wandering corpse. No comforting of the 
good Rolf, no devout soothing lays, were of any avail ; and 
the castellan, with his fierce, scarred features, his head almost 
entirely bald from a huge sword-cut, his stubborn silence, 
seemed like a yet darker shadow of the miserable knight. Rolf 
often thought of going to summon the holy chaplain of Dron- 
theim, but how could he have left his lord alone with the 
gloomy castellan, a man who at all times raised in him a secret 
horror. Biorn had long had this wild strange warrior in his 
service, and honoured him on account of his unshaken fidelity 
and his fearless courage, without the knight or any one else 
knowing whence the castellan came, or indeed exactly who he 
was. Very few people knew by what name to call him, but 
that was the more needless since he never entered into discourse 
with any one. He was the castellan of the stone fortress on the 
Rocks of the Moon, and nothing more. 

Rolf committed his deep heartfelt cares to the merciful God, 
trusting that He would soon come to his aid, and the merciful 
God did not fail him. For on Christmas eve the bell at the 
drawbridge sounded, and Rolf, looking over the battlements, saw 
the chaplain of Drontheim standing there, with a companion 
indeed that surprised him, — for close beside him appeared the 



CHAP. XX.] AND HIS COMPANIONS. 197 



crazy pilgrim, and the dead men's bones on his dark mantle 
shone very strangely in the glimmering star-light ; but the sight 
of the chaplain filled the good Rolf too full of joy to leave 
room for any doubt in his mind — for, thought he, whoever 
comes with him^ cannot but be welcome ! And so he let them 
both in with respectful haste, and ushered them up to the hall 
where Sintram, pale and with a fixed look, w^as sitting under 
the light of one flickering lamp, Rolf was obliged to support 
and assist the crazy pilgrim up the stairs, for he was quite be- 
numbed with cold. 

" I bring you a greeting from your mother," said the chap- 
lain, as he came in, and immediately a sweet smile passed over 
the young knight's countenance, and its deadly pallidness gave 
nlace to a bright, soft glow. 

" Oh Heaven !" murmured he, " does then my mother yet 
live, and does she care to know anything about me ?" 

" She is endowed with wonderful presentiment of the future," 
1 eplied the chaplain, " and all that you ought either to do or 
to leave undone is pictured in various ways in her mind, dur- 
ing a half-waking trance, but with most faithful exactness. 
Now she knows of your deep sorrow, and she sends me, the 
Father Confessor of her convent, to comfort you, but at the 
same time to warn you, for, as she affirms, and as I am also 
inclined to think, many strange and heavy trials lie before 
you." 

Sintram bowed himself towards the chaplain with his arms 
crossed over his breast, and said with a gentle smile : " Much 
have I been favoured, more, a thousand times more, than 1 
could have dared to hope in my best hours, by this greeting 
from my mother, and your visit, reverend sir ; and all after fall- 
ing more fearfully low than I had ever fallen before. The mercy 
of the Lord is great, and how heavy soever may be the weight 
and punishment which he may send, I trust with his grace to 
be able to bear it." 

Just then the door opened, and the castellan came in with a 
torch in his hand, the red glare of which made his face look 



198 



SINTRAM, 



:he colour of blood. He cast a terrified glance at the crazy 
pilgrim, who had just sunk back in a swoon, and was supported 
on his seat and tended by Rolf; then he stared with astonish- 
ment at the chaplain, and at last murmured : " A strange meet- 
ing ! I believe that the hour for confession and reconciliation is 
now arrived." 

" I believe so, too," replied the priest, who had heard his low 
whisper ; " this seems to be truly a day rich in grace and peace. 
That poor man yonder, whom I found half frozen by the way, 
would make a full confession to me at once, before he followed 
me to a place of shelter. Do as he has done, my dark-browed 
warrior, and delay not your good purpose for one instant." 

Thereupon he left the room with the castellan, who gave a 
sign of compliance, but he turned back to say : " Sir knight, 
and your esquire ! take good care the while of my sick 
charge." 

Sintram and Rolf did according to the chaplain's desire, and 
when at length their cordials made the pilgrim open his eyes 
once again, the young knight said to him with a friendly smile 
" Do you see ? you are come to visit me after all. Why did 
you refuse me when a few nights ago I asked you so earnestly 
to come ? Perhaps I may have spoken wildly and hastily. Did 
that scare you away ?" 

A sudden expression of fear came over the pilgrim's counter 
nance, but soon he again looked up at Sintram with an air of 
gentle humility, saying : " Oh my dear lord, I am most entirely 
devoted to you — only never speak to me of former passages be- 
tween you and me. I am terrified whenever you do it. For, 
my lord, either I am mad and have forgotten all that is past, or 
that being has met you in the wood, whom I look upon as my 
all-powerful twin-brother." 

Sintram laid his hand gently on the pilgrim's mouth, as he 
answered : " Say nothing more about that matter. I most will- 
ingly promise to be silent." 

Neither he nor old Rolf could understand what appeared to 
them so awful in the whole matter ; but both shuddered. 



CHAP. XX.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



199 



After a short pause, the pilgrim said : " I would rather sing 
you a songj a soft, comforting song. Have you not a lute 
here ?" 

Rolf fetched one, and the pilgrim, half-raising himself on the 
eouch, sang the following words : — 

When death is coming near, 
When thy heart shrinks in feeir, 

And thy Umbs fail, 
Then raise thy hands and pray 
To Him who smooths thy way 

Through the dark vale. 

Seest thou the eastern dawn, 
Hcar'st thou in the red morn 

The angel's song ? 
O lift thy drooping head 
Thou who in gloom and dread 

Hast lain so long. 

Death comes to set thee free, 
O meet him cheerily 

As thy true friend. 
And all thy fears shall cease. 
And in eternal peace 

Thy penance end. 

" Amen," said Sintram and Rolf, folding their hands ; and 
whilst the last chords of the lute still resounded, the chaplain 
and the castellan came slowly and gently into the room. " I 
bring a precious Christmas gift,"' said the priest. " After many 
sad years, hope of reconciliation and peace of conscience are 
returning to a noble, but long dis-turbed mind. This concerns 
you. beloved pilgrim ; and do you, my Sintram, with a joyful 
tiust in God, take encouragement and example from it." 

"More than twenty years ago," began the castellan at a sign 
from the chaplain, " more than twenty years ago I was a stout 
and active herdsman, and I drove my flock up the mountains. 
A young knight followed me, whom they called Weigand the 
Slender. He wanted to buy of me my fiivourite little lamb 
for his fair bride, and offered me much red gold for it I 



soo 



SINTRAM, 



[chap, xx 



sturdily refused. The over-boldness of youth carried us both 
away. A stroke of his sword hurled me senseless down the 
precipice." 

" Not killed ?" asked the pilgrim in a scarce audible voice. 

" I am no ghost," replied the castellan somewhat morosely ; 
and then after an earnest look from the priest he continued 
more humbly : " I recovered slowly and in solitude, with the 
help of remedies which were easily found by me, a herdsman, 
in our productive vallies. When I came back into the world, 
no man knew me with my scarred face, and my head which 
had become bald. I heard a report going through the country, 
that, on account of this deed of his. Sir Weigand the Slender 
had been rejected by his fair betrothed Verena, and how he 
had pined away, and she had wished to retire into a convent, 
but her father had persuaded her to marry the great knight 
Biorn. Then there came a fearful thirst for vengeance into 
my heart, and I disowned my name and my kindred and my 
home, and entered the service of the mighty Biorn as a 
strange wild man, in order that Weigand the Slender should 
always be deemed a murderer, and that I might feed on his 
anguish. So have I fed upon it for all these long years. I 
have revelled frightfully in his self-imposed banishment, in 
his cheerless return home, in his madness. But to-day" — and 
hot tears gushed from his eyes — "but to-day God has broken 
the hardness of my heart ; and dear Sir Weigand, look upon 
yourself no more as a murderer, and say that you will forgive 
me, and pray for him who has done you so fearful an injury, 

and" Sobs choked his words. He fell at the feet of the 

pilgrim, who with tears of joy pressed him to his heart, in 
token of Iv^rgiveness. 



CHAP XXI ] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



201 



CHAPTER XXI. 

The joy of this hour passed from its first overpowering bright- 
ness, to the calm, thoughtful aspect of daily life, and Weiganil, 
now restored to health, laid aside the mantle with dead men's 
bones, saying: "I had chosen for my penance to carry these 
fearful remains about with me, in the idea that perhaps some 
of them might have belonged to him whom I have murdered. 
Therefore I used to search for them round about in the deep beds 
of the mountain torrents, and in the high nests of the eagles 
and vultures. And while I was searching I sometimes — could 
it have been only an illusion ? — I seemed to meet a being who 
was very like myself, but far, far more powerful, and yet still 
paler and more haggard." — An imploring look from Sintram 
stopped the flow of his words. With a gentle smile, Weigand 
bowed towards him, and said : " You know now all the deep, 
unutterably deep sorrow which preyed upon me. My fear of 
you, and my yearning love for you, are no longer without ex- 
planation to your kind heart. For, dear youth, though you 
may be like your fearful father, you have also the kind gentle 
heart of your mother, and its reflection brightens your pallid, 
stern features, like the glow of a morning sky which lights up 
ice-covered mountains and valleys. But alas ! how long have 
you lived alone even amidst your fellow-creatures ! And how 
long is it since you have seen your mother, my dearly-loved 
Sintram ?" 

" I feel, too, as though a spring were gushing up in the barren 
wilderness of my heart," replied the youth ; "and I should per- 
chance be altogether restored, could 1 but keep you long with 
me, and weep with you, dear friend. But I have that within 
me which sa3:'s that you will very soon be taken from me." 

"I believe, indeed," said the pilgrim, "that my song the 



202 SINTRAM, 

Other day was very nearly my last, and that it contained a pre- 
diction full soon to he accomplished in me.* But, as ♦he soul of 
man is always like the thirsty ground, the more blessings God 
has bestowed on us, the more earnestly do we look out for new 
^ ones, so would I crave for one more ere my life closes, as I would 
fain hope, in happiness. Yet indeed it cannot be granted me," 
added he with a faltering voice, " for I feel myself too utterly 
unworthy of such high grace." 

" But it will be granted !" said the chaplain joyfully. He 
that humbleth himself shall be exalted, and I fear not to take 
him who is now cleared from the stain of murder, to receive a 
farewell from the holy and forgiving countenance of Verena." 

The pilgrim stretched both his hands up towards Heaven, and 
an unspoken thanksgiving seemed to pour from his beaming 
eyes, and to brighten the smile that played on his lips. 

Sintram looked sorrowfully on the ground, and sighed gently 
to himself : " Alas ! happy he who dared go also !" 

" My poor, good Sintram," said the chaplain in a tone of the 
softest kindness, " I understand you well, but the time is not yet 
come. The powers of Evil will again raise up their wrathful 
heads within you, and Verena must check both her own and 
your longing desires, until all is pure in your spirit as in her's. 
Comfort yourself with the thought that God looks mercifully 
upon you, and that the joy so earnestly sought for, will not fail 
to come — if not here, most assuredly beyond the grave." 

But the pilgrim, as though awaking out of a trance, rose with 
energy from his seat, and said : " Do you please to come forth 
with me, reverend chaplain ? Before the sun appears in the 
heavens, we could reach the c-onvent-gates, and I should not be 
far from Heaven." 

In vain did the chaplain and Rolf remind him of his w^eak- 
iiess : he smiled, and said that there could be no question about 
it, and he girded himself, and tuned the lute which he had 
asked leave to take with him. His decided manner overcame 
all opposition, almost without words: and the chaplain had 
already prepared himself for the journey, when the pilgrim 
looked with much emotion at Sintram, who, oppressed with a 



CUaP. XXI.J 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



203 



strange weariness, had sunk half asleep on a couch, and he 
said : " Wait a moment. I know that he wants mc to give him 
a soft lullaby." The pleased smile of the youth seemed to say 
yes, and the pilgrim, touching the strings with a light hand, 
sang these words : — 

" Sleep peacefully, dear boy, 
Thy mother sends the song 
That whispers round thy couch, 

To lull thee all night long. 
In silence and afar, 

For thee she ever prays, 
And longs once more in fondness 
Upon thy face to gaze. 

And when thy waking cometh, 

Then in thy every deed. 
In all that may betide thee, 

Unto her words give heed. 
O listen for her voice. 

If it be yea or nay, 
And though temptation meet thee, 

Thou shalt not miss the way. 

If thou canst listen rightly, 

And nobly onward go. 
Then pure and gentle breezes 

Around thy cheeks shall bbw. 
Then on thy peaceful journey 

Her blessing thou shalt feel, 
And though from thee divided, 

Her presence o'er thee steal 

O safest, sweetest, comfort ! 

O blest and living light ! 
That strong in Heaven's power 

All terrors put to flight I 
Rest quietly, sweet child. 

And may the gentle numbers 
Thy mother sends to thee, 

Waft peace unto thy slumbers." 

Smtram fell into a deep sleep, smiling and breathing softly. 
Rolf and the castellan remained by his bed, whilst the two 
travellers pursued their way in the quiet starlight. 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. xxu. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

The dawn had almost appeared, when Rolf, who had been 
asleep, was awoke by low singing, and as he looked round, he 
perceived with surprise that the sounds came from the lips of 
the castellan, who said, as if in explanation : " So does Sir 
Weigand sing at the convent-gates, and they are kindly opened 
to him." Upon which old Rolf fell asleep again, uncertain 
whether what had passed had been a dream or a reality. Af- 
ter awhile the bright sunshine awoke him again, and when he 
rose up, he saw the countenance of the castellan wonderfully 
illuminated by the red light of the morning sun, and altogethei 
those features, once so fearful, were shining with a soft, nay, 
almost child-like mildness of expression. The mysterious man 
seemed to be the while listening to the motionless air, as if he 
were hearing a most pleasant discourse, and as Rolf was about 
to speak, he made him a sign of entreaty to remain quiet, and 
he continued in his eager, listening attitude. 

At length he sank slowly and contentedly back in his seat, 
whispering : " God be praised ! She has granted his last pray- 
er ; he will be laid in the burial-ground of the convent, and now 
he has forgiven me from the bottom of his heart. I can assure 
you, that he is having a peaceful end." 

Rolf did not dare ask a question, or awake his lord ; he felt 

s if one already departed had spoken to him. 
■^he castellan remained still for a long space of time, always 
J. a bright smile on his face. At last he raised himself up a 

.ale, again listened, and said : " It is over. The sound of the 
bells is very sweet. We have overcome. Oh! how soft and 
easy does the good God make it to us !" And so it came to 
pass. He stretched himself back as if weary, and his soul was 
freed from his care-worn body. 



CHAP. XXII.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



205 



Rolf now gently awoke his young knight, and pointed to the 
smiling face of the dead. And Sintram smiled too ; he and his 
good esquire fell on their knees and prayed to God for the de- 
parted spirit. Then they rose up, and bore the cold body to 
the vaulted hall, and watched by it with holy candles until the 
return of the chaplain. That the pilgrim would not come back 
again, they very well knew. 

Towards mid-day, accordingly, the chaplain returned alone. 
He could scarcely do more than confirm what was already 
known to them. He only added a comforting and hopeful 
greeting from Sintram's mother to her son, and told that the 
blissful Weigand had fallen asleep like a tired child, whilst 
Verena with calm tenderness held a crucifix before him. 

" And in eternal peace our penance end !" 

sang Sintram gently to himself, and they prepared a last rest- 
mg-place for the now so peaceful castellan, and laid him there- 
in with all the due solemn rites. 

The chaplain was obliged soon afterwards to depart, but 
when bidding Sintram farewell, he again said kindly to him: 
" Your dear mother knows assuredly, how gentle, and calm, 
and good, you are now become !" 



S06 



SINTRAM, 



fcHAP. XXIU 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

In the castle of Sir Biorn of the Fieiy Eyes, Christmas eve had 
not passed so brightly and happily, but yet there too all had 
gone visibly according to God's will 

Folko, at the entreaty of the lord of the castle, had allowed 
Gabrielle to support him into the hall, and the three now sat at 
the round stone-table whereon a sumptuous meal was laid. On 
either side, there were long tables, at which sat the retainers of 
both knights, in full armour, according to the custom of the 
north. Torches and lamps lighted the lofty hall with an almost 
dazzling brightness. 

The deepest shades of night had now gathered around, and 
Gabrielle softly reminded her wounded knight to withdraw. 
Bi^n heard her and said : " You are right, fair lady, our knight 
needs rest. Only let us first keep up one more old honourable 
custom." 

And at his sign four attendants brought in with pomp a great 
boar's head, which looked as if cut out of solid gold, and placed 
it in the middle of the stone-table. Biorn's retainers rose with 
reverence, and took off their helmets ; Biorn himself did the 
same. 

" What means this ?" asked Folko very gravely. 

" What your forefathers and mine have done on e'^ery Yule 
Feast," answered Biorn. " We are going, to make vows on 
the boar's head, and then pass the goblet round to their fulfil- 
ment." 

" We no longer keep what our ancestors called the Yule 
Feast," said Folko ; " we are good Christians, and we keep holy 
Christmas-tide." 

" We may observe the one without leaving ofT the other," 
answered Biorn. " I hold my ancestors too dear to forget their 



CHAP. XXIII.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



207 



knightly customs. Those who think otherwise may act ac- 
cording to their wisdom, but that shall not hinder me. I swear 

by the golden boards-head" And he stretched out his hand 

towards it. 

But Folko called out, " In the Name jf our Holy Saviour, 
forbear. Where I am, and still have breath and will, none ce- 
h-brate the rites of the wild heathens." 

Biorn of the Fiery Eyes glared angrily at him. The men 
of the two barons separated from each other, with a hollow 
sound of rattling armour, and ranged themselves in two bodies 
on either side of the hall, each behind its leader. Already here 
and there helmets were fastened and visors closed. 

" Bethink thee yet what hou art doing," said Biorn. " I was 
about to vow an eternal union with the house of Montfaufon, 
nay, even to bind myself to do it grateful homage, but if thou 
disturbest me in the customs which have come to me from my 
forefathers, look to thy safety, and the safety of all that is dear 
to thee. My wrath no longer knows any bounds." 

Folko made a sign to the pale Gabrielle to retire behind his 
followers, saying to her : " Be of good cheer, my noble wife, 
weaker Christians have borne, for the sake of God and of His 
holy Church, greater dangers than now seem to threaten us* 
Believe me, the lord of Montfau^on is not so easily overcome." 

Gabrielle obeyed, something comforted by Folko's fearless 
smile, but this smile inflamed yet more the fury of Biorn. He 
again stretched out his hand towards the boar's head, as if 
about to make some dreadful vow, when Folko snatched a 
gauntlet of Biorn's off the table, with which he, with his un- 
wound ed left arm, struck such a powerful blow on the gilt idol 
that it fell crashing to the ground, shivered to pieces. Biorn 
and his followers stood as if turned to stone. But soon swords 
were grasped by armed hands, shields were taken down from 
the walls, and an angry threatening murmur sounded through 
the haL. 

At a sign from Folko, one of his faithful retainers brought 
him a battle-axe ; he swung it high in the aii with his power- 



208 



SINTRAM, 



[chap, xxiu 



ful left hand, and he stood looking- like an avenging angel aa 
he spoke these words through the tumult with awful calmness: 
" What seek ye. O ye deluded Northmen ? What would st 
thou, sinful lord? You are indeed become heathens, and [ 
hope to show you that it is not in my right arm alone that 
God has put strength for victory. But if you can yet hear, 
listen to my words. Biorn, on this same accursed, and now, 
hy God's help, shivered boar's head, thou didst lay th} hand 
when thou didst swear to sacrifice any mhabitants c! the 
German towns that should fall into thy power. . And Gotthard 
Lenz came, and Rudlieb came, driven on these shores by 
the storm. What didst thou then do, savage Biorn ? What 
did you do at his bidding, you who were keeping the Yule- 
feast with him ? Try your fortune on me. The Lord will be 
with me as he was with those holy men. To arms ! and — " 
(he turned to his w^arriors,) — " let our battle-cry be Gotthard 
and Rudlieb !" 

Then Biorn let drop his drawn sword; then his followers 
paused, and none among the Norwegians dared lift his eyes 
from the ground. By degrees they one by one began to disap- 
pear from the hall ; and at last Biorn stood quite alone opposite 
to the baron and his followers. He seemed hardly aware that 
he had been deserted, but he fell on his knees, stretched out 
his shining sword, pointed to the broken boar's head, and said . 
" Do with me as you have done w^ith that ; I deserve no better. 
I ask but one favour, only one ; do not disgrace me, noble 
baron, by seeking shelter in another castle while you remain in 
Norway." 

" I do not fear you," answered Folko, after some thought^ 
" and as far as may be, I freely forgive you." Then he drew 
the sign of the Cross over the wild form of Biorn, and left the 
hall with Gabrielle. The retainers of the house of Montfaufon 
followed him proudly and silently. 

The high spirit of the fierce lord of the castle was now 
quite broken, and he watched with increased humility every 
look of Folko and Gabrielle. But they withdrew more and 



OUAP. XXIII.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



209 



more into the happy solitude of their own apartments, where 
they enjoyed in the midst of the sharp winter a bright spring- 
tide of love and happiness. The wounded condition of Folko 
did not hinder the evening delights of songs and music and 
poetry — but rather a new charm was added to them when the 
tall, handsome knight leant on the arm of his delicate lady, 
and they thus, changing as it were their deportment and du- 
ties, walked slowly through the torch-lit halls, scattering their 
kindly greetings like flowers among the crowds of men and 
women. 

All this time little or nothing was heard of poor Sintram. 
The last wild outbreak of his father had increased the terror 
with which Gabrielle remembered the self-accusations of the 
youth ; and the more resolutely Folko kept silence, the more 
did she fear that some dreadful mystery lay beneath. Indeed 
a secret shudder came over the knight when he thought on 
the pale, dark-haired youth. Sintram's repentance had bor- 
dered on settled despair ; no one knew even what he was 
doing in the fortress of Evil-Report on the Rocks of the Moon. 
Strange rumours were brought by the retainers who had fled 
from it, that the Evil Spirit had obtained complete power 
over Sintram, that no man could stay with him, and that the 
fidelity of the dark and mysterious castellan had cost him 
his life. 

Folko could hardly drive away the fearful imagination that 
the lonely young knight was become a wicked magician. 

And perhaps indeed evil spirits did flit about the banished Sin- 
tram, but it was without his calling them up. In his dreams he 
often saw the wicked enchantress Venus, in her golden chariot 
drawn by winged cats, pass over the battlements of the stone 
fortress, and heard her say, mocking him : " Foolish Sintram, 
foolish Sintram, hadst thou but listened to the Little Master's 
words ! Thou wouldst now be in Helen's arms, and the Rocks 
of the Moon would be called the Rocks of Love, and the stone 
fortress would be the garden of roses. Thou wouldst have 
15 



210 



SINTRAM, 



[chap, xxiri. 



lost thy pale face and black tangled hair, — for thou art only 
enchanted, dear youth, — and thine eyes would have beamed 
more softly, and thy cheeks bloomed more freshly, and thy hair 
would have been more golden than was that of prince Paris, 
when men wondered at his beauty. Oh ! how Helen would 
have loved thee !" Then she showed him, in a mirror, his own 
figure kneeling before Gabrielle, who sank into his arm^s blush- 
ing as the morning. When he awoke from such dreams, he 
would seize in eager haste the sword and scarf which his lady 
had given him, as a shipwrecked man seizes the plank which is 
to save him, and while the hot tears fell upon it, he would mur- 
jrnuT to himself: "There was indeed one hour in. my sad life 
when I was happy, and deserved it." 

Once he sprang up at midnight after one of these dreams, 
only this time with a more thrilling horror than usual ; for it 
had seemed to him that the features of the enchantress Venus 
had changed towards the end of her speech, as she looked 
down upon him with marvellous scorn, and she appeared to 
him almost to assume those of the hideous Little Master. The 
youth had no better means of calming his distracted mind than 
to throw the sword and scarf of Gabrielle over his shoulders, 
and to hasten forth under the solemn starry canopy of the win- 
try sky. He walked in deep thought backwards and forwards 
under the leafless oaks, and the snow-laden firs, which grew on 
the high ramparts. 

Then he heard a sorrowful cry of distress sound from the 
moat ; it was as if some one were attempting to sing, but was 
stopped by excess of grief Sintram exclaimed, " Who's 
there ?" and all was still. When he was silent and again be- 
gan his walk, the frightful groanings and moanings were heard 
afresh, as if they came from a dying person. Sintram over- 
came the horror which seemed to hold him back, and began in 
o'ilence to climb down into the deep dry moat, which was cut 
in the rock He was soon so low down that he could no longer 
see the stars shining ; he saw a shrouded form move beneath 
him, — and sliding rapidly down the remainder of the steep de* 



CHAP. XXIII.] 



AND HIS COMPANTONS. 



211 



scent, he stood near the groaning figure ; it ceased its lamenta- 
tions, and began to laugh like a maniac from beneath its long 
folded female garments. 

" Oh, ho, my comrade ! Oh, ho, my comrade! You are now 
going a little too fast : well, well, it is all right : and see now, 
you stand no higher than I, my pious valiant youth ! Take it 
patiently, — take it patiently !" 

" What do you want with me ? Why do you laugh ? why 
do you weep ?" asked Sintram impatiently. 

"I might ask you the same question," answered the dark 
figure, " and you would be less able to answer me, than I to 
answer you. Why do you laugh ? why do you weep ? — Poor 
creature ! But I will show you a remarkable thing in your 
fortress, of which you know nothing. Give heed !" 

And the shrouded figure began to scratch and scrape at the 
stones till a little iron door opened, and showed a long passage 
which led into the deep darkness. 

" Will you come with me ?" whispered the strange being : 
•'it is the shortest way to your father's castle. Iq half an hour 
we shall come out of this passage, and we shall be in your 
beauteous lady's apartme^it. King Menelaus shall lie in a ma- 
gic sleep, — leave that to me, — and then you will take the slight 
delicate form in your arms, and you will bring' her to the Rocks 
of the Moon ; so you will recover all that seemed lost by your 
former wavering." 

Then Sintram might have been seen to stagger. He was 
shaken to and fro by the fever of passion and the stings of con- 
science ; but at last, pressing the sword and scarf to his heart, 
he cried out : "Oh! that fairest, most glorious hour of my life ! 
[f I lose all other joys, I will hold fast that brightest hour !" 

" A bright, glorious hour !" said the figure from under its veil, 
lilve an evil echo. "Do you know whom you then conquered ? 
A good old friend, who only showed himself so sturdy in order 
to give you the glory of overcoming him. Will you convince 
yourself ? Will you look ?" 

The dark garments of the little figure flew open, and Sin* 



212 SINTRAM, [chap, xxui 

tram saw the dwarf warrior in strange armour with the gold 
horn on his helmet, and the curved spear in his hand ; the very- 
same whom Sin tram thought he had slain on Niflung's Heath, 
now stood before him, and grinned as he said : " You see, my 
friend, every thing in the wide world is made up of dreams and 
froth ; wherefore hold fast the dream which delights you, and 
sip up the froth which refreshes you ! Hasten to that under- 
ground passage, it leads up to your angel Helen. Or would 
you first know your friend yet better ?" 

His visor opened, and the hateful face of the Little Master 
glared upon the knight. Sintram asked, as if in a dream : "Art 
th ou also that wicked enchantress Venus ?" 

" Something like her," answered the Little Master, laughing, 
" or rather she is something like me. And if you will only get 
disenchanted, and recover the beauty of prince Paris, — then, O 
prince Paris," and his voice changed to an alluring song, " then, 

prince Paris, I shall be fair like you !" 

At this moment the good Rolf appeared above on the ram- 
part ; a consecrated taper in his lantern shone down into the 
moat, as he sought for the young knight. " In God's name. Sir 
Sintram," he called out, " what have you to do there with the 
spectre of him whom you slew on Niflung's Heath, and whom 

1 never could bury ?" 

" Do you see ? do you hear ?" whispered the Little Master, 
and drew back into the darkness of the underground passage. 
" The wise man up there knows me well. You see your heroic 
feat came to nothing. Come, take the joys of life while you 
may!" 

But Sintram sprang back with a strong effort into the circle 
of light made by the shining of the taper from above, and cried 
out : " Depart from me, unquiet spirit ! I know well that I 
bear a name on me, in which thou canst have no part." 

Little Master rushed, in fear and rage, into the passage, and, 
yelling, shut the iron door behind him. It seemed as if ho 
could be still heard groaning and roaring. 

Sintram climbed up the wall of the moat, and made a sign to 



CHAP. XXIII.J 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



213 



his foster-father not to speak to him — he only said . One of 
my best joys, yes, the very best, has been taken from me — but 
by God's help, I am not yet wholly lost." 

In the earliest light of the following morning, he and Rolf 
stopped up the entrance to the perilous passage with huge 
blocks of stone. 



814 SINTRAM, [chap. xxiv. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

The long northern winter was at last ended ; the fresh, green 
leaves rustled merrily in the woods, patches of soft moss ap 
peared amongst the rocks, the valleys were clothed with grass, 
the brooks sparkled, the snow melted from all but the highest 
mountain-tops, and the bark which was ready to carry away 
Folko and Gabriclle danced on the sunny waves. The baron, 
who was now quite recovered, and strong and fresh as though 
his health had sustained no injury, stood one morning on the 
shore with his fair lady, and, full of glee at the prospect of re 
turning to their home, the noble pair looked on with satisfaction 
at their attendants, who were busied in the ship with prepara- 
tions for the voyage. 

Then said one of them, in the midst of a confused sound of 
talking : " But what has appeared to me the most fearful and 
the most strange thing in this northern land, is the stone fortress 
on the Rocks of the Moon : I have never indeed been inside it, 
but when I used to see it in our huntings, towering above the 
tall fir-trees, there came a tightness over my breast, as if some 
unearthly beings were dwelling in it. And a few weeks ago, 
when the snow was yet lying hard in the valleys, I came una- 
wares quite close upon the strange building. The young knight 
Sintram was walking alone on the ramparts as the shades of 
twilight stole on, like the spirit of a d-eparted knight, and he 
drew from the lute which he carried such soft melancholy tones, 
and he sighed so deeply and sorrowfully . . ." 

The voice of the speaker was drowned in the noise of the 
crowd, and as he also just then reached the ship with his pack- 
age, which had been hastily fastened up, Folko and Gabrielle 
could not hear the rest of his speech. But the fair lady looked 
on her knight with eyes dim with tears, and sighed : " Is i not 



CHAP. XXIV.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



215 



behind those mountains that the Rocks of the Moon lie ? The 
unhappy Sintram makes me sad at heart." 

" I understand you, sweet gracious lady, and the pure com- 
passion which fills your heart," replied Folko, and instantly 
ordered his swift-footed steed to be brought. He placed his 
noble lady under the charge of his retainers, and leaping into 
the saddle, he pursued his way, followed by the grateful smiles 
of Gabrielle, along the valley which led towards the stontj fortress. 

Sintram was seated near the drawbridge, touching the strings 
of the lute, and shedding some tears on the golden chords, 
almost exactly as Montfau^on's esquires had described him. 
Suddenly a cloudy shadow passed over him, and he looked up, 
expecting to see a flight of cranes in the air ; but the sky was 
clear and blue. While the young knight was still wondering, 
a long bright spear fell at his feet from a battlement of the 
armoury turret. " Take it up, — make good use of it ! your 
foe is near at hand ! Near also is the downfal of your cherish- 
ed hopes of happiness !" Thus he heard it distinctly whis- 
pered in his ear ; and it seemed to him that he saw the shadow 
of the Little Master glide close by him to a neighbouring cleft in 
the rock. But at the same time, also, a tall, gigantic, haggard 
figure passed along the valley, in some measure like the departed 
pilgrim, only much, very much larger, and he raised his long 
bony arm with an awfully threatening air, then disappeared in 
an ancient tomb. 

At the very same instant Sir Folko of Montfauton came swift- 
ly as the wind up the Rocks of the Moon, and he must have seen 
something of those strange apparitions, for, as he stopped close 
behind Sintram, he looked rather pale, and he asked low and 
earnestly : " Sir knight, who are those two with whom you were 
just now holding converse here ?" 

" The good God knows," answered Sintram. " I know them 
not." 

" If the good God does but know !" cried Montfau9on. " But 
I fear me that he knows you not, nor your deeds." 

" You speak strangely harsh words," said Sintram. " Yet 
ever since that evening of misery, — alas ! and even long before 



S16 



SINTRAM, 



[chap XXIV 



— I have no right to complain of anything you may say or do. 
Dear sir, you may believe me, I know not those fearful com- 
panions ; I call them not ; and I know not what terrible curse it is 
which binds them to my footsteps. The merciful God, as I would 
hope, is mindful of me the while, as a faithful shepherd does not 
forget even the worst and most widely-strayed of his flock, but 
calls after it with an anxious voice in the gloomy wilderness." 

Then the anger of the baron was quite melted. Two tears 
stood in his eyes, and he said : " No, assuredly, God has not for- 
gotten you ; only do you not forget your gracious God. I did not 
come to rebuke you — I came to bless you in Gabrielle's name 
and in my own. The Lord preserve you, the Lord guide you, 
the Lord lift you up. And Sintrarn, on the far-ofT shores of 
Normandy I shall bear you in mind, and I shall hear how you 
struggle against the curse which darkens your unhappy life, 
and if you ever obtain the victory over it, and overcome in the 
evil day, then you shall receive from me a token of love ard 
reward, more precious than either you or I can understand at 
this moment." 

The words flowed prophetically from the baron's lips ; he 
himself was only half-conscious of what he said. With a kind 
salutation he turned his noble steed, and again flew down the 
valley towards the sea-shore. 

" Fool, fool, thrice a fool !" whispered the angry voice of 
the Little Master in Sintram's ear, but old Rolf was singing his 
morning hymn in clear tones within the castle, and the last lines 
were these 

*' Whom worldlings scorn, 
Who lives forlorn, 

On God's own word doth rest ; 
With heavenly light, 
His path is bright. 

His lot among the blest." 

Then a holy joy took possession of Sintram's heart ; and he 
looked around him yet more gladly than in the hour when Oa- 
brielle gave him the scarf and sword, and Folko dubbed hi:A: 
knight. 



CHAP XXV.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



217 



CHAPTER XXV. 

The baron and his lovely lady were sailing across the broad sea 
with favouring gales of spring, nay the coast of Normandy had 
already appeared above the waves, but still was Biorn of the 
Fiery Eyes sitting gloomy and speechless in his castle. He 
had taken no leave of his guests. There was more of proud 
fear of Montfau9on, than of reverential love for him in his soul, 
especially since the adventure with the boar's head, and the 
thought was bitter to his haughty spirit, that the great baron, 
the flower and glory of their whole race, should have come in 
peace to visit him, and should now be departing in disj^leasure, 
in stern reproachful displeasure. He had constantly before his 
mind, and it never failed to bring fresh pangs, the remembrance 
of how all had come to pass, and how all might have gone 
otherwise ; and he was always fancying he could hear the songs 
in which after-generations would recount this voyage of the 
great Folko, and the worthlessness of the savage Biorn. At 
length, full of fierce anger, he cast away the fetters of his 
troubled spirit, he burst out of the castle with all his horsemen, 
and began to carry on a warfare more fearful and more lawless 
than any in which he had yet been engaged. 

Sintram heard the sound of his father's war-horn, and com- 
mitting the stone fortress to old Rolf, he sprang forth ready 
armed for the combat. But the flames of the cottages and 
farms on the mountains rose up before him, and showed him, 
written as if in t.naracters of fire, what kind of war his father 
was waging. Yet he went on towards the f?pot where the army 
was mustered, but only to ofler his mediation, affirming that he 
would not lay his hand on his good sword in so abhorred a 
service, even though the stone fortress, and his father's castle 
besides, should fall be%e the vengeance of their enemies. 



218 



SINTRAM, [chap. xxv. 



Biorn hurled the spear which he held in his hand against his 
son with mad fury. The deadly weapon whizzed past him. 
Sintram remained standing with his visor raised, he did not 
move one limb in his defence, when be said : " Father! do what 
you will ; but I join not in your godless warfare." 

Biorn of the Fiery Eyes laughed scornfully : " It seems that 
[ am always to have a spy over me here ; my son succeeds tr 
the dainty French knight 1" But nevertheless he came to him- 
self, he accepted Sintian/s mediation, made amends for the in- 
juries he had done, ard returned gloomily to his castle. Sintram 
went back to the Rocks of the Moon. 

Such occurrences were frequent after that time. It went so 
far that Sintram came to be looked upon as the protector of all 
those whom his father pursued with relentless fury ; but never- 
theless, sometimes his own wildness would carry the young 
knight away to accompany his fierce father in his fearful deeds. 
Then Biorn used to laugh with horrible pleasure, and to say : 
" See there, my son, how the flames we have lighted blaze up 
from the villages, as the blood spouts up from the wounds our 
swords have made ! It is plain to me, however much you may 
pretend to the contrary, that you are, and that you will ever re- 
main, my true and beloved heir !" 

After such terrible wanderings, Sintram could find no comfort 
but in hastening to the chaplain of Drontheim, and confessing 
to him his misery and his sins. The chaplain would freely 
absolve him after due penance had been performed, and agaiG 
raise up the broken-hearted and repenting youth ; but he would 
often say : " Oh ! how nearly had you reached your last trial 
and gained the victory, and looked on Verena's countenance, 
and atoned for all ! Now you have thrown yourself back for 
years. Think, my son, on the shortness of man's life ; if you 
a:3 always falling back anew, how will you ever reach the sum- 
mit on this side the grave ?" 

Years came and went, and Biorn's hair was white as snow, 
and the youth Sintram had reached the middle age ; old Rolf 
was now scarcely able to ' "^'^ve the stone fortress ; and some- 



CHAP. XXV ] AND HIS COMPANIONS. 219 



times he said : " I feel it a burden that my life should yet be 
prolonged, but also there is much comfort in it, for I shall think 
that the good God has in store for me here below some great 
happiness ; and it must be something in which you are con* 
cerned, my beloved Sir Sintram, for what else in the whole 
world could rejoice my heart ?" 

But, nevertheless, every thing remained as it was, only Sin- 
tram's fearful dreams at Christmas-time each year rather in- 
creased than diminished in horror. Again, the holy season 
was drawing near, and the mind of the sorely afflicted knight 
was more troubled than ever before. Sometimes, if he had 
been reckoning up the nights which were yet to elapse before 
it, a cold sweat would stand on his forehead, while he said : 
" Mark my words, dear old foster-father, this time something 
most awfully decisive lies before me." 

One evening he felt an overwhelming anxiety about his fa- 
ther. It seemed to him that the Prince of Darkness was going 
up to Biorn's castle ; and in vain did Rolf remind him that the 
snow was lying deep in the valleys, in vain did he suggest that 
the knight might be overtaken by his frightful dreams in the 
lonely mountains during the night-time. " Nothing can be 
worse to me than remaining here would be," replied Sin- 
tram. 

He took his horse from the stable and rode forth in the ga- 
thering darkness. The noble steed slipped and stumbled and 
fell in the trackless ways, but his rider always raised him up 
and urged him only more sv/iftly and eagerly towards the ob- 
ject which he longed and yet dreaded io reach. Nevertheless, 
he might never have arrived at it, had not his faithful hound 
Skovmark kept with him. The dog sought out the lost track 
for his beloved master, and invited him into it with joyous 
barkings, and warned him by his howls against hidden preci- 
pices and treacherous ice under the snow. Thus they arrived 
about midnight at Biorn's castle. The windows of the hail 
shone opposite to them with a brilliant light, as though sor le 
great feast were being kept there, — and confused sounds, »f 



220 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. XXV. 



singing, met their ears, Sintram gave his horse hastily to some 
retainers in the court-yard, and ran up the steps, whilst Skovmark 
staid by the well-known horse. 

A good esquire came towards Smtram within the castle, and 
said : " God be praised, my dear master, that you are come, — 
for surely nothing good is going on above. But take heed to 
yourself, also, and be not deluded. Your father has a guest 
with him, — and, as I think, a very evil one," 

Sintram shuddered as he threw open the doors. A little man 
in the dress of a miner was sitting with his back towards him ; 
the armour had been for some time past again ranged round 
the stone table, so that only two places were ever left empty. 
The seat opposite the door had been taken by Biorn of the Fiery 
Eyes ; and the dazzling light of the torches fell upon his fea- 
tures with such a red glare, that he most fully established his 
right to that fearful surname. 

" Father, whom have you here with you ?" cried Sintram ; 
and his suspicions rose to certainty as the miner turned round, 
and the detestable face of the Little Master grinned from under 
the dark hood he ^vore. 

" Yes, just see, my fair son," said the wild Biorn ; " you 
have not been here for a long while, — and so to-night this joi'v 
cornrade has paid me a visit, and your place has been taken. 
But throw one of the suits of armour out of the way, and put 
a seat for yourself instead of it, — and come and drink with us, 
and be merry." 

" Yes, do so, Sir Sintram," said the Little Master, with a 
laugh. " Nothing worse could come of it than that the broken 
pieces of armour might clatter somewhat strangely one against 
the other ; or, at most, that the disturbed spirit of him to whom 
the suit belonged, might look over your shoulder : but he would 
not drink up any of our wine — ghosts have nothing to do with 
that. So now fall to !" 

Biorn joined in the laughter of the hideous stranger with 
wild mirth ; and while Sintram was mustering up his whole 
strength not to lose his senses at such terrible words, and was 



CHAP. XXV.] 



AISD HIS COMPANIONS. 



221 



fixing a calm steady look on the Little Master's face, — the old 
man cried out : 

" Why do you look at him so ? Is it that you fancy there 
is a mirror before you ? Now that you are together, I do not 
see it so much ; but awhile ago I thought that you were like 
enough to each other to be mistaken." 

" God forbid !" said Sintram : and he walked up close to 
the fearful apparition, saying : " I command you, detestable 
stranger, to depart from this castle, in right of my authority as 
my father's heir, — as a consecrated knight, and as a Christian 
man !" 

B]orn seemed as if he wished to oppose himself to this com- 
mand with all his savage might. The Little Master mut- 
tered tc nimself : " You are not by any means the master in 
this house, pious knight ; you have never lighted a fire on this 
hearth." 

Then Sintram drew the sword which Gabrielle had given 
him, — held the cross formed by the hilt before the eyes of 
his evil guest, — and said calmly, but with a powerful voice : 
" Worship, or fly !" 

And he fled ! the frightful stranger, — he fled with such light- 
ning speed, that it could scarcely be seen whether he had 
sprung through the window or the door. But in going he over- 
threw some of the armour, — the tapers went out, — and it seemed 
that the pale blue flame which lighted up the hall in a marvel- 
lous manner, gave a fulfilment to the Little Master's formter 
words ; and that the spirits of those to whom the armour had 
belonged, were leaning over the table grinning fearfully. 

Both the father and the son were filled with horror, — but 
each chose an opposite way to save themselves. Biorn wished 
to have his hateful guest back igain ; and the power of his 
will was seen when the Little Master's step resounded anew 
on the stairs, and his hard brown hand shook the lock of the 
door. On the other hand, Sintram ceased not to say within 
himself : " We are lost, if he comes back ! We are lost to 
aU eternity, if he comes back !" And he fell on his knees. 



222 



SIN TRAM, 



[chap. XXT 



and prayed fervently from the depth of his troubled heart to 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then the Little Master left the 
door ; and again Biorn willed him to return ; and again Sin- 
tram's prayers drove him away. So went on this strife of wills 
throughout the long night; and fierce whirlwinds raged the 
while around the castle, till all the household thought the end 
of the world was come. At length the dawn of morning ap- 
peared through the windows of the hall, — the fury of the storm 
was lulled, — Biorn sank back powerless in slumber on his seat ; 
— peace and hope were restored to the inmates of the castle, — 
and Sintram, pale and exhausted, went out to breathe the dewy 
air of the mild winter's morning before the castle-gates. 



CHAP. XXVI ] 



AND UrS COMPANIONS. 



sens 



CHAPTER XXVL 

The faithful Skovmark followed his master, caressing him ; and 
when Sintram fell asleep on a stone seat in the wall, he lay at 
his feet, keeping watchful guard. Suddenly he pricked up his 
ears, looked round with delight, and hounded joyfully down the 
mountain. Just afterwards the chaplain of Drontheim appeared 
amongst the rocks, and the good beast went up to him as if to 
greet him, and then again ran back to the knight to announce a 
welcome visitor. 

Sintram opened his eyes, to feel the pleasure of a child whose 
Christmas-gifts have been placed at his bed-side to surprise him. 
For the chaplain smiled at him as he had never yet seen him 
smile. There was in it a token of victory and blessing, or at 
least of the near approach of both. " You have accomplished 
much yesterday, very much," said the holy priest, and his hands 
were joined and his eyes full of bright tears. " I thank God 
on your behalf, my noble knight. Verena knows all, and she 
too blesses God. I do indeed now dare hope that the time will 
soon come when you may appear before her. But Sintram, Sir 
Sintram, there is need of haste — for the old man above requires 
speedy aid, and you have still a heavy — as I hope the last — yet 
a most heavy trial to undergo for his sake. Arm yourself, my 
knight, arm yourself even with temporal weapons. In truth, 
this time only spiritual armour is needed, but it always befits a 
knight as well as a monk, to wear, in the decisive moments of 
his life, the entire solemn garb of his station. If it so please 
you, we will go directly to Drontheim together. You must 
return thence to-night. Such is the tenor of the hidden decree, 
vv'hich has been dimly unfolded to Verena's foresigb/. Here 
there is yet much that is wild and distracting, and you have 
great need to-day of calm preparation." 



224 



SINTRAM, 



[cn.vp. xxn 



With humble joy Sintram bowed his assent, and called for 
his horse and for a suit of armour. " Only," added he, let 
not any of that armour be brought, which was last night over- 
thrown in the hall." 

His orders were quickly obeyed. The arms which were 
fetched, adorned with fine engraved work, the simple helmet, 
formed rather like that of an esquire than a knight, the lance 
of almost gigantic size, which belonged to the suit, — on all these 
the chaplain gazed in deep thought, and with melancholy emo- 
tion. At last, when Sintram with the help of his esquires was 
well-nigh equipped, the holy priest spoke : " Wonderful are the 
ways of God's providence ! See, dear Sintram, this armour 
and this spear were formerly those of Sir Weigand the Slender, 
and with them he did many mighty deeds. When he was 
tended by your mother in the castle, and when even your father 
still shoAved himself kind and courteous, he asked, as a favour, 
that his armour and his lance should be allowed to hang in 
Biorn's armoury, — Weigand himself, as you well know, in- 
tended to build a cloister and to live there as a monk, — and he 
put his old esquire's helmet with it, instead of another, because 
he was yet wearing that one when he first saw the fair Verena's 
angelic face. How wondrously does it now come to pass, that 
these very arms which have so long been laid aside, should 
have been brought to you for the decisive hour of your life ! 
To me, as far as my short-sighted human wisdom can tell, to 
me it seems truly a very solemn token, but one that is full of 
high ami glorious promise." 

Sintram stood now in complete array, composed and stately, 
and from his tall, slender figure might have been supposed still 
in early youth, had not the deep lines of care which furrowed 
his countenance shown hini to be advanced in years. 

" Who has placed boughs on the head of my war-horse ?" 
asked Sintram of the esquires with displeasure. " I am not a 
conqueror, nor a wedding-guest. And besides, there are no 
boughs now, but these red and yellow crackling leaves of the 
oak, dull and dead like the season itself" 



ciiAr yxvt ] AND HIS COMPANIONS. 225 



" Sir knight, I know not, myself," answered an esquire, " but 
it seemed to me that I could not do otherwise." 

" Let it be," said the chaplain. " I feel that this is also sent 
as a token full of meaning from the right source." 

Then the knight threw himself into his saddle ; the priest 
went beside him ; and they both rode slowly and silently to- 
wards Drontheim. The faithful dog followed his master. 
When the lofty castle of Drontheim appeared in sight, a gentle 
smile spread itself over Sintram's countenance, like a gleam of 
sunshine on a wintry valley. " God has done great things for 
me," said he. " I once rushed from here, a fearfully wild boy ; 
I now come back, a penitent man. I trust that good is yet in 
gtore for my poor troubled life." 

The chaplain assented kindly, and soon afterwards the travel- 
lers passed under the echoing vaulted gateway into the castle- 
yard. At a sign from the priest, the retainers approached with 
respectful haste, and took charge of the horses ; then he and 
Sintram went through long winding passages, and up many 
steps, to the remote chamber which the chaplain had chosen for 
his own : far away from the noise of men, and near to the clouds 
and the stars. There the two passed a quiet day in devout 
prayer, and earnest reading of Holy Scripture. 

When the evening began to close in, the chaplain arose and 
said : " And now, my knight, get ready your horse, and mount 
and ride back again to your father's castle. A toilsome way 
lies before you, and I dare not go with you. But I can, and I 
will call upon the Lord for you, all through the long, fearful 
night. Oh, beloved instrument of the Most High, you will yet 
not be lost !" 

Thrilling with strange forebodings, but nevertheless strong 
and vigorous in spirit, Sintram did according to the holy man's 
desire. The sun set as the knight approached a long valley, 
strangely shut in by rocks, through which lay the road to his 
fntJier's castle. 

16 



236 



SINTRAM, 



[chap, xxra 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

Before entering the rocky pass, the knight, with a prayer 
and thanksgiving, looked back once more at the castle of Dron- 
theim. There it was, so vast and quiet and peaceful, the bright 
windows of the chaplain's high chamber yet lighted up by the 
last gleam of the sun, which had already disappeared. In front 
of Sintram was the gloomy valley, looking as if prepared to be 
his grave. 

Then there came towards him some one riding on a small 
horse, and Skovmark, who had gone up to the stranger as if to 
find out who he was, now ran back with his tail between his 
legs and his ears put back, howling and whining, and he crept 
terrified under his master's war-horse. But even the noble steed 
appeared to have forgotten his once so fearless and warlike ar- 
dour. He trembled violently, and when the knight would have 
turned him towards the stranger, he reared and snorted and 
plunged, and began to throw himself backwards. It was only 
with difficulty that Sintram's strength and horsemanship got the 
better of him, and he was all white with foam when Sintram 
came up to the unknown traveller. 

" You have cowardly animals with you," said the latter, in a 
low smothered voice. 

Sintram v/as unable, in the ever-increasing darkness, rightly 
to distinguish what kind of being he saw before him ; only a 
very pallid face, which at first he had thought was covered 
with freshly fallen snow, met his eyes from amidst the long 
hanging garments in which the figure was clothed. It seemed 
that the stranger carried a small box, wrapped up ; his little 
horse, as if wearied out, bent his head down towards the ground, 
whereby a bell, which hung from the wretched torn bridle un- 
der his neck, was made to give a strange sound. After a short 



CUAP. XXVIl.J 



AND m6 COMPANIONS. 



2V7 



silence, Sintram replied : " Noble steeds avoid those of a worse 
race, because they are ashamed of them ; and the boldest dogs 
arQ attacked by a secret terror at sight of forms to which 
they are not accustomed. I have no cowardly animals with 
ma." 

Good, Sir knight, then ride with me through the valley." 
" I am going through the valley, but I want no compan- 
ions." 

" But, perhaps, I want one. Do you not see that I am un- 
armed ? And at this season, at this hour, theie are frightful, 
unearthly beasts about." 

Just then, as if to confirm the awful words of the stranger, 
a thing swung itself down from one of the nearest trees covered 
with hoar frost, — no one could say if it were a snake, or a 
lizard, — it curled and twisted itself, and appeared to be going 
to slide down upon the knight or his companion. Sintram 
levelled his spear, and pierced the creature through. But witl 
the most hideous contortions it fixed itself firmly on the spear 
head, and in vain did the knight endeavour to rub it oflf against 
the rocks or the trees. Then he let his spear rest upon his 
right shoulder, with the point behind him, so that the horrible 
beast no longer met his sight, and he said with good courage to 
the stranger : " It does seem indeed that I could help you, and 
I am not forbidden to have an unknown stranger in my compa- 
ny ; so let us push on bravely into the valley !" 

" Help !" so resounded the solemn answer. " Not help, I, 
perhaps, may help thee. But God have meicy upon thee, if the 
time should ever come when I could no longer help thee. Then 
thou wouldst be lost, and I should become very frightful to thee. 
But we will go through the valley, I have thy knightly word 
for it. Come !" 

They rode forward. Sintram's horse still showing signs of 
fear, the faithful dog still whining, but both obedient to their 
master's will. The knight was calm and steadflist. The snow 
had slipped down from the smooth rocks, and by the light of the 
rising mom could be seen various strange twisted shapes on 



328 



SINTRAM, 



[chap JSXVil 



their sides, some looking like snakes, and some like human 
faces ; but they were only formed by the veins in the rock, and 
the half bare roots of trees which had planted themselves in 
that desert place with capricious firmness. High above, and 
at a great distance, the castle of Drontheim, as if to take leave, 
appeared again through an opening in the rocks. The knight 
then looked keenly at his companion, and he almost felt as if 
Weigand the Slender were riding beside him. " In God's 
name," cried he, " art thou not the shade of that departed 
knight who suffered and died for Verena?" 

" I have not suffered, I have not died, but ye suffer and ye 
die, poor mortals !" murmured the stranger. " I am not Wei- 
gand. I am that other one, who was so like him, and whom 
thou hast also met before now in the wood." 

Sintram strove to free himself from the terror which came 
over him at these words. He looked at his horse ; it appeared 
to him entirely altered. The dry, many coloured oak-leaves 
on its head were waving like the flames around a sacrifice, in 
the uncertain moon-light. He looked down again to see after 
his faithful Skovmark. Fear had likewise most wondrously 
changed him. On the ground in the middle of the road were 
lying dead men's bones, and hideous lizards were crawling 
about, and, in defiance of the wintry season, poisonous mush- 
rooms were growing up all around. 

" Can this be still my horse on which I am riding," said the 
knight to himself in a low voice ; " and can that trembling beast 
which runs at my side, be my own dog ?" 

Then some one called after him in a yelling voice : " Stop I 
Stop ! Take me also with you !" 

Looking round, Sintram perceived a small frightful figure, 
\vith horns, and a face partly like a wild boar and partly like a 
bear, walking along on its hind legs, which were those of a 
horse, and in its hand was a strange hideous weapon shaped 
like a hook or a sickle. It was the being who had been wont 
to trouble him in his dreams, and alas! it was also the wretched 



CHAP. XXVII.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



229 



Little Master himself, who, laughing w'Idly, stretched out a long 
claw towards the knight. 

The bewildered Sintram murmured : " I must have fallen 
asleep ! and now my dreams are coming over me !" 

" You are awake," replied the rider of the little horse, " but 
you know me also in your dreams. For behold ! I am Death." 
And his garments fell from him, and there appeared a mould- 
ering skeleton, its ghastly head crowned with serpents ; thai 
which he had kept hidden under his mantle, was an hour-glass 
with the sand almost run out. Death held it towards the knight 
in his fleshless hand. The bell at the neck of the little horse 
gave forth a solemn sound. It was a passing-bell. 

" Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit !" prayed Sin- 
tram ; and full of earnest demotion ne rode after Death, who 
beckoned him on. 

" He has not got you yet ! He has not got you yet !" 
screamed the fearful fiend. " Give yourself up to me rather. 
In one instant, — for swift are your thoughts, swift is my might, 
— in one instant you shall be in Normandy. Helen yet blooms 
in beauty as when she departed hence, and this very night she 
would be yours." And once again he began his unholy praises 
of Gabrielle's loveliness, and Sintram's heart glowed like wild- 
fire in his weak breast. 

Death said nothing more, but raised the hour-glass in his 
right hand yet higher and higher, and as the sand now ran out 
more quickly, a soft light streamed from the glass over Sin- 
tram's countenance, and then it seemed to him as if eternity in 
all its calm majesty were rising before him, and a world of con- 
fusion dragging him back with a deadly grasp. 

" I command thee, wild form that followest me," cried he, " I 
command thee in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to cease' 
from thy seducing words, and to call thyself by that name by 
which thou art recorded in Holy Writ!" A name, which 
sounded more fearful than a thunder-clap, burst despairingly 
from the lips of the Tempter, and he disappeared. 



S30 



SIN TRAM, 



[cjiAP. xxvn 



" He will return no more," said Death in a kindly tone, 
" And now I am become wholly thine, my stern compan- 
ion ?" 

" Not yet, my Sintram. I shall not come to thee till many, 
many years are past. But thou must not forget me the while." 

" I will keep the thought of thee steadily before my soul, 
thou fearful yet wholesome monitor, thou awful yet loving 
guide !" 

" Oh ! I can truly appear very gentle." And so it proved in- 
deed. His form became more softly defined in the increasing 
gleam of light which shone from the hour-glass, the features 
which had been awful in their sternness wore a gentle smile, 
the crown of serpents became a bright palm-wreath, instead of 
the horse appeared a white misty cloud on which the moon- 
beams played, and the bell gave forth sounds as of sweet lulla- 
bies. Sintram thought he could hear these words amidst 
them : — 

* " The world and Satan are o'ercome, 

Before thee gleams eternal light. 
Warrior, who hast won the strife. 

Save from darkest shades of night, 
Him before whose aged eyes. 
All my terrors soon shall rise. ' 

The knight well knew that his father was meant, and he 
urged on his noble steed, who now obeyed his master willingly 
and gladly, and the faithful dog also again ran beside him fear- 
lessly. Death had disappeared, but in front of Sintram there 
floated a bright morning cloud, which continued visible after the 
sun had risen in the clear winter sky to cheer and j.rm the earth. 



CHAP, xxviii ] AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



231 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

" He is dead ! the horrors of that fearful night of storm and tem- 
pest have killed him !" Thus said, about tnis time, some of 
Biorn's retainers, who had not been able to bring him back to 
his senses since the morning of the day before ; they had made 
a couch of wolf and bear skins for him in the great hall, in the 
midst of the armour which still lay scattered around. One of 
the esquires said with a low sigh : " T'he Lord have mercy on 
his poor wild soul." 

Just then the warder blew his horn from his tower, and a 
trooper came into the room with a look of surprise. " A knight 
is coming towards here," said he ; " a wonderful knight. I 
could have taken him for our lord Sintram — ^but a bright, bright 
morning-cloud floats so close before him, and throws over him 
such clear light, that one could fancy red flowers were show- 
ered down upon him. Besides, his horse has a reddish wreath 
of flowers on his head, which was never a custom of the son of 
our dead lord." 

" It was exactly such a one," replied another, " that I wove for 
him yesterday. He was not pleased with it at first, but after- 
wards he let it remain." 

" But why did you do that ?" 

" It seemed to me as if I heard a voice singing again and 
again in my ear : ' Victory ! victory ! the noblest victory ! 
The knight rides forth to victory 1' And then I saw a branch 
of our oldest oak tree stretched towards me, which had kept on 
almost all its red and yellow leaves in spite of the snow. So I 
did according to what I had heard sung ; and I plucked some 
of the leaves, and wove a triumphal wreath for the noble war- 
horse. At the same time Skovmark, — you know that the 
faithful beast had always a great dislike to Biorn, and therefore 



232 



SINTRAM, 



[chap, xxviil 



had gone to the stable with the horse, — Skovmark jumped upon 
me, fawning and seeming pleased, as if he wanted to thank me 
for my work ; and such noble animals understand well about 
good prognostics." 

They heard the sound of Sintram's spurs on the stone steps, 
and Sko\'Tnark's joyous bark. At that instant the supposed 
corpse of old Biorn sat up, — looked around with rolling, staring 
eyes, — and asked ot the terrified retainers in a hollow voice : 
" Who comes there, ye people 1 who comes there? I know it 
is my son. But who comes with him 1 On the answer to that 
hangs the decision of my fate. For see, good people, Gotthard 
and Rudlieb have prayed much for me : yet if the Little Master 
comes w^ith him, I am lost in spite of them !" 

" You are not lost, my beloved father !" Sintram's kind voice 
was heard to say, as he softly opened the door, and the bright 
red morning-cloud floated in with him. 

Biorn joined his hands, cast a look of thankfulness up to 
Heaven, and said, smiling : " Yes, praised be God ! it is the 
right companion ! It is sweet gentle Death !" And then he 
made a sign to his son to approach, saying : " Come here, my 
deliverer ; come blessed of the Lord, that I may relate to you 
all that has passed within me." 

As Sintram now^ sat close by his father's couch, all who were 
in the room perceived a remarkable and striking change. For . 
old Biorn, whose whole countenance, and not his eyes alone, 
had been wont to have a fiery aspect, — was now quite pylc, 
almost like white marble : while, on the other hand, the cheeks 
of the once deadly-pale Sintram glowed with a bright bloom 
like that of early youth. It was caused by the morning-cloud 
which still shone upon him, and the presence of which in the 
room was rather felt than seen ; but it produced a gentle thrill 
in every heart. 

" See, my son," began the old man, softly and mildly, " I have 
lain for a long time in a death-like sleep, and have known 
nothing of what was going on around me; but within, — ah! 
within, I have had but too entire consciousness ! I thought that 



CHAP. KXVIA.] 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



233 



my soul would be destroyed by the eternal anguish ; and yet 
again I felt with much greater horror, that my soul was undy- 
ing like that anguish. Beloved son, your cheeks that glowed 
so brightly are beginning to grow pale at my words. I refrain 
from mere. But let me relate to you something more cheering : 
lar, far away, I could see a bright, lofty church, where Gott- 
hard and Rudlieb Lenz were kneeling and praying for me. 
Gotthard had grown very old, and looked like one of our moun- 
tains covered with snow, on which the evening sun is shining ; 
and Rudlieb was also an elderly man, but very vigorous and 
very strong ; and they both, with all their strength and vigour, 
wtre calling upon God to aid me, their enemy. Then I heard 
a voice like that of an angel, saying : ' His son does the most 
for him ! He must this night wrestle with Death and with the 
Fallen One ! His victory will be victory, — and his defeat will 
be defeat, for the old man as well as for himself Thereupon 
I awoke ; and I knew that all depended upon whom you would 
bring with you. You have conquered. Next to God, the praise 
be to you !" 

" Gotthard and Rudlieb have helped much," replied Sintram ; 
" and, beloved father, so have the fervent prayers of the chap- 
lain of Drontheim. I felt, in the midst of temptation and deadly 
fear, how the heaven-directed prayers of good men floated round 
me and aided me." 

I am most willing to believe that, my noble son, and every 
thing you say to me," answered the old man : and at the same 
moment the chaplain also coming in, Biorn stretched out his 
hand towards him with a smile of peace and joy. And now all 
seemed to be surrounded with a bright circle of unity and bless- 
ed ness. "But see," said old Biorn, "how the faithful Skov- 
mark jumps upon me now, and tries to caress me. It is not 
'cng since he used always to howl with terror when he saw me." 

" My dear lord," said the chaplain, " there is a spirit dwell- 
ing m good beasts, although they are unconscious of it." 

As the day wore on, the stillness in the hall increased. The 
last hour of the aged knight was drawing near, but he met it 



S34 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. XXVIIl 



calmly and fearlessly. The chaplain and Sintram prayed be- 
side his couch. The retainers knelt devoutly around. At 
length the dying man said : " Is that the vesper-bell in Verena's 
cloister?" and Sintram made a sign to express his undoubting 
belief that it was, while warm tears fell on the colourless cheeks 
of his father. A gleam shone in the old man's eyes, — the 
morning-cloud stood close over him, and then the gleam, the 
morning-cloud, and life with them departed from him. 



CHAP, xxix ] AND HIS COMPANIONS. 835 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

A FEW days afterwards Sintram stood in the parlour of the 
convent, and waited with a beating heart for his mother to ap- 
pe^ir. He had seen her for the last time, when, a slumbering 
c\iild, he had been awoke by her tender, farewell kisses, and 
then had fallen asleep again to wonder in his dreams what his 
mother had wanted with him, and to seek her in vain the next 
morning in the castle and in the garden. The chaplain was 
now at his side, rejoicing in the chastened rapture of the knight, 
whose fierce spirit had been overcome, on whose cheeks a soft 
reflection of that solemn morning-cloud yet lingered. 

The innfer doors opened. — In her white veil, stately and no- 
ble, the lady Verena came forward, and with a heavenly smile 
she beckoned her son to approach the grating. There could 
be no thought here of any passionate outbreak, whether of sor- 
row or of joy.* The holy peace which had its abode within 
these walls, would have found its way to a heart less tried and 
less purified than that which beats in Sintram's bosom. Shed- 
ding some placid tears, the son knelt before his mother, kissed 
her flowing garments through the grating, and felt as if he were 
in Paradise, — where every wish and every care is hushed. 
" Beloved mother," said he, " let me become a recluse like you. 
Then I will betake myself to the cloister yonder ; and perhaps 
I might one day be deemed worthy to be your confessor, if ill- 
r.ess or the weakness of old age should keep the good chaplain 
within the castle of Drontheim." 

" That would be a sweet, quietly-happy life, my good child," 

* " In whose sweet presence sorrow dares not lower, 
Nor expectation rise, 
Too high for earth." 

Christian Year. 



236 



SINTRAM, 



[chap. XXIX 



replied the lady Verena ; " but such is not your, vocation. 
You must continue to be a bold, powerful knight, and you must 
spend the long life which is almost always granted to us, chil- 
dren of the north, in , succouring the weak, in keeping down 
the lawless, and in yet another more bright and honourable 
e-nployment which I now rather dimly foresee, than clearly 
know." 

" God's v/ill be done !" said the knight, and he rose up full 
of self-devotion and firmness. 

" That is my good son," said the lady Verena. " Ah ! h pw 
many sweet calm joys spring up for us ! See, already is our 
longing desire of meeting again satisfied, and you will never 
more be so entirely estranged from me. Every week on this 
day you will come back to me, and you will relate what glori- 
ous deeds you have done, and take back with you my advice 
and my blessing." 

" Am I not once more a good and happy child !" cried Sin- 
tram joyously ; " only that the merciful God has given me in 
addition the strength of a man in body and spirit. Oh ! how 
blessed is that son to whom it is allowed to gladden his mother's 
heart with the blossoms and the fruit of his life !" 

Thus he left the quiet cloister's shade, joyful in spirit and 
lichly laden with blessings, to enter on his noble career. He 
was not content with going about wherever there might be a 
rightful cause to defend, or evil to be averted ; the gates of the 
now hospitable castle stood always open also to receive and 
shelter every stranger, — and old Rolf, who was almost grown 
young again at sight of his lord's excellence, was established as 
seneschal. The winter of Sintram's life set in bright and glori- 
ous, and it was only at times that he would sigh within himself 
and say : " Ah ! Montfau9on, ah ! Gabrielle, if I could dare to 
hope that you have quite forgiven me I" 



eiiAp. XXX 



AND HIS COMPANIONS. 



2:37 



CHAPTER XXX. 

The spring had ccine in its brightness to that northern land, 
when one morning Sintram turned his horse homewards after a 
successful encounter with one of the most formidable disturbers 
of the peace of his neighbourhood. His horsemen rode after 
him, singing as they went. As they drew near the castle they 
heard the sound of joyous notes wound on the horn. " Some 
welcome visitor must have arrived," said the knight, and he 
'purred his horse to a quicker pace over th.e dewy meadow. 
While still at some distance, they descried old Rolf busily en- 
gaged in preparing a table for the morning meal, under the 
trees in front of the castle gates. From all the turrets and bat- 
tlements floated banners and flags in the fresh morning breeze, 
esquires were running to and fro in their gayest apparel. As 
soon as the good Rolf saw his master, he clapped his hands 
joyfully over his gray head, and hastened into the castle. Im- 
mediately the wide gates were thrown open, and Sintram, as he 
entered, was met by Rolf, whose eyes were filled with tears of 
joy as he pointed towards three noble forms that were following 
him. 

Two men of high stature, — one in extreme old age, the other 
gray-headed, and both remarkably alike, — were leading between 
them a fair young boy, in a page's dress of blue velvet, richly 
embroidered with gold. The two old men wore the dark velret 
dress of German burghers, and had massive gold chains and 
large shining medals hanging round their necks. 

Sintram had never before seen his honoured guests, and yet 
he felt as if they were well known and valued friends. The 
very aged man reminded him of his dying father's words about 
the snow-covered mountains lighted up by the evening sun ; 
and then he remembered, he could scarcely tell how, that he 



S38 



SINTRAM, AND HIS COMPANIONS. [ciup. xxx 



had heard Folko say that one of the highest mountains of that 
soit in his southern land was called the St. Gotthard. And at 
the same time he knew that the old but yet vigorous man on 
the other side was named Rudlieb. But the boy who stood be- 
tween them, — ah ! Sintram's humility dared scarcely form a 
hope as to who he might be, however much his features, so no- 
ble and soft, called up two highly honoured images before his 
mind. 

Then the aged Gotthard Lenz, the prhice of old men, ad- 
vanced with a solemn step, and said : " This is the noble boy 
Engeltram of Montfaufon, the only son of the great baron, and 
his father and mother send him to you. Sir Sintram, knowing 
well your holy and glorious knightly career, that you may bring 
him up to all the honourable and valiant deeds of this northern 
land, and may make of him a Christian knight, like yourself" 

Sintram threw himself from his horse. Engeltram of Mont- 
fau^on held the stirrup gracefully for him, checking the retain- 
ers, who pressed forward, with these words : " I am the noblest 
born esquire of this knight, and the service nearest to his persoD 
belongs to me." 

Sintram knelt on the turf to offer a silent prayer, then lifting 
up the image of Folko and Gabrielle in his arms, towards the 
rising sun, he cried : " With the help of God, my Engeltram, 
you will become glorious as that sun, and your course will be 
like his !" 

And Rolf said, as he wept for joy, " Lord, now iettest Thou 
Thy servant depart in peace." 

Gotthard Lenz and Rudlieb were pressed to Sintram's heart , 
the chaplain of Drontheim, who just then came from Verena's 
cloister, to bring a joyful greeting to her brave son, stretched out 
his hands to bless them all. 



END OF SINTilAM.